Authors
Victoria I. Burke
Ryerson University
Abstract
In this article, I defend the view that conscience exemption clauses for medical practitioners (doctors, nurses, technicians, pharmacists) should be limited by patient protection clauses. This view was also defended by Mark Wicclair, in his book on conscience exemptions in medicine (Cambridge UP, 2011). In this article, I defend Wicclair’s view by supplementing it with Hegelian ethical theory and feminist critical theory. Conscience exemptions are important to support as a matter of human rights. They support an individual’s right to protect their deepest value-commitments. A true understanding of conscience is dialectical, however, and it requires patient protection clauses because they, too, protect individuals in their deepest value-commitments. In this article, I show that the defense of patient protection clauses is historically supported by the theory of “conscience [Gewissen]” developed by G.W.F. Hegel in the nineteenth century (mostly in the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807)).
Keywords Patient-centered medicine  Religion  Critical theory  Positive liberty  Social pathologies  Medicine  Abortion  Euthanasia  public policy
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Reprint years 2016
ISBN(s) 0739-098X
DOI 10.5840/ijap201712577
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