Mary Neal – The Importance of Protection for Conscience in the Healthcare Environment

 

 

Event Date: 26 September 2015
Barts Pathology Museum
Robin Brook Centre
West Smithfield
London EC1A 7BE

“DYING WELL”: ENACTING MEDICAL ETHICS

A cross-disciplinary Symposium at Barts Pathology Museum

Dr Mary Neal (School of Law, University of Strathclyde) –  The Importance of Protection for Conscience in the Healthcare Environment

In this paper, drawing on recent and forthcoming work on the topic, I will adopt the mainstream ‘integrity’ view of conscience, defending it against some recent attempts to problematise it from a sceptical or feminist perspective. Rejecting the various versions of the ‘incompatibility thesis’, I will defend the place of individual conscience in healthcare practice, arguing that keeping professional space free from ‘private values’ is both implausible and undesirable, and that robust protection for conscience in law is essential. I will also argue, however, that there are several factors which can be regarded as naturally limiting the exercise of individual conscience, and that this ought to reassure those who may be anxious about the impact of conscience rights in the public/professional context.

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