American Journal of Bioethics 21 (8):46-59 (2021)

Authors
Kyle G. Fritz
University of Mississippi
Abstract
In 2019, several US states passed “heartbeat” bills. Should such bills go into effect, they would outlaw abortion once an embryonic heartbeat can be detected, thereby severely limiting an individual’s access to abortion. Many states allow health care professionals to refuse to provide an abortion for reasons of conscience. Yet heartbeat bills do not include a positive conscience clause that would allow health care professionals to provide an abortion for reasons of conscience. I argue that this asymmetry is unjustified. The same criteria that justify protecting conscientious refusals to provide abortion also justify protecting positive conscientious appeals regarding abortion. Thus, if the law provides legal exemptions for health care professionals who, as a matter of conscience, refuse to provide abortions where it is legal, it should also provide exemptions for health care professionals who, as a matter of conscience, feel obligated to provide abortions where it is illegal.
Keywords abortion  conscience  conscientious objection  health policy  heartbeat laws
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DOI 10.1080/15265161.2020.1863514
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References found in this work BETA

A Defense of Abortion.Judith Jarvis Thomson - 1971 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 1 (1):47-66.
What is Conscience and Why is Respect for It so Important?Daniel P. Sulmasy - 2008 - Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 29 (3):135-149.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Wrong Argument for a Bad Law.Eric Mathison - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (8):77-79.
Putting the Asymmetry Debate in Its Place.Abram L. Brummett - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (8):68-69.
Medical Disobedience and the Conscientious Provision of Prohibited Care.Dov Fox - 2021 - American Journal of Bioethics 21 (8):72-74.

View all 9 citations / Add more citations

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