Robert F. Card
This article first critically reviews the major philosophical positions in the literature on conscientious objection and finds that they possess significant flaws. A substantial number of these problems stem from the fact that these views fail to assess the reasons offered by medical professionals in support of their objections. This observation is used to motivate the reasonability view, one part of which states: A practitioner who lodges a conscientious refusal must publicly state his or her objection as well as the reasoned basis for the objection and have these subjected to critical evaluation before a conscientious exemption can be granted (the reason-giving requirement). It is then argued that when defenders of the other philosophical views attempt to avoid granting an accommodation to spurious objections based on discrimination, empirically mistaken beliefs, or other unjustified biases, they are implicitly committed to the reason-giving requirement. This article concludes that based on these considerations, a reason-giving position such as the reasonability view possesses a decisive advantage in this debate.
Card RF. The Inevitability of Assessing Reasons in Debates about Conscientious Objection in Medicine. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 2017 Jan; 26(1): 82-96. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0963180116000669.