Abstract Ancell and Sinnott-Armstrong argue that medical providers possess wide freedoms to determine the scope of their practice, and therefore, prohibiting almost any conscientious objections is a bad idea. They maintain that we could create an acceptable system on the whole which even grants accommodations to discriminatory refusals by healthcare professionals. Their argument is premised upon applying a free market mechanism to conscientious objections in medicine, yet I argue their Market View possesses a number of absurd and troubling implications. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the fundamental logic of their main argument is flawed. Thinkers who wish to address the issues raised in this debate in general or by discriminatory conscience objections in particular should avoid the Market View and instead envisage theories that assess the reasons underlying conscientious refusals in medicine.
Abstract Paradigmatic cases of conscientious objection in medicine are those in which a physician refuses to provide a medical service or good because doing so would conflict with that physician’s personal moral or religious beliefs. Should such refusals be allowed in medicine? We argue that (1) many conscientious objections to providing certain services must be allowed because they fall within the range of freedom that physicians have to determine which services to offer in their practices; (2) at least some conscientious objections to serving particular groups of patients should be allowed because they are not invidiously discriminatory; and (3) even in cases of invidiously discriminatory conscientious objections, legally prohibiting individual physicians from refusing to serve patients on the basis of such objections is not always the best solution.