When professional rights conflict with human rights : legal and ethical issues

My aim is to demonstrate that professionals perceive they have a right to refuse to provide their services and are currently acting accordingly. This thesis explores whether a professional right to refuse services exists; if so, the limits of this right; and whether a professional 'right' to refuse services ought to exist and in what circumstances. This requires analysis of whether refusals to provide professional services might be considered unethical conduct according to existing codes of ethics and moral theories, unprofessional conduct within the norms of professional regulatory and disciplinary bodies, or illegal conduct according to Canadian law, in particular, human rights law. The issues are examined primarily with reference to physicians who treat patients and some comparisons are made with physician clinical researchers and lawyers. The shift from a duty-based system of professional service to a rights-based system of professional privileges has led to conflicting goals of professional self-regulation, and some possible resolutions to this conflict are explored
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