AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. August 2010, Volume 12, Number 8: 644.

The Code Says

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The AMA Code of Medical Ethics’ Opinions on Respect for Civil and Human Rights

The AMA Code of Medical Ethics opinions on respect for civil and human rights.

Opinion 9.03 Civil Rights and Professional Responsibility

Opportunities in medical society activities or membership, medical education and training, employment, and all other aspects of professional endeavors should not be denied to any duly licensed physician because of race, color, religion, creed, ethnic affiliation, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or handicap.

Opinion 9.12 Patient-Physician Relationship: Respect for Law and Human Rights

The creation of the patient-physician relationship is contractual in nature. Generally, both the physician and the patient are free to enter into or decline the relationship. A physician may decline to undertake the care of a patient whose medical condition is not within the physician's current competence. However, physicians who offer their services to the public may not decline to accept patients because of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other basis that would constitute invidious discrimination. Furthermore, physicians who are obligated under pre-existing contractual arrangements may not decline to accept patients as provided by those arrangements.

Based on the report, “Modification of Ethics Policy to Ensure Inclusion for Transgender Physicians, Medical Students, and Patients,” adopted November 2007.


Should a Gay Physician in a Small Community Disclose His Sexual Orientation?, August 2010

Homophobic Jokes and Patient Care, August 2010

The Medical School Curriculum and LGBT Health Concerns, August 2010