Should doctors feel able to practise according to their personal values and beliefs? — No

Julian Savulescu
Med J Aust 2011; 195 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja11.11249
Published online: 7 November 2011

NO: Ethicist Julian Savulescu believes patient safety lies in objective moral standards

CConscientious objection by doctors, as is commonly practised, is discriminatory medicine. Only a fully justified and publicly accepted set of objective values results in ethical medicine as a proper public service with agreed and justified moral and legal standards to which doctors should be held.

  • Faculty of Philosophy, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom.


I receive financial support from the Uehiro Foundation on Ethics and Education; Wellcome Trust Grant no: 086041/Z/08/Z ; and the Oxford Martin School.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

  • 1. Strickland SL. Conscientious objection in medical students: a questionnaire survey. J Med Ethics 2011; Jul 18. Epub ahead of print. doi:10.1136/jme.2011.042770.
  • 2. Hope T, Savulescu J, Hendrick J. Medical ethics and law: the core curriculum. London: Churchill Livingstone; 2003.
  • 3. Savulescu J. Rational non-interventional paternalism: why doctors ought to make judgments of what is best for their patients. J Med Ethics 1995; 21: 327-331.
  • 4. Savulescu J. Liberal rationalism and medical decision-making. Bioethics 1997; 11: 115-129.


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