AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. March 2013, Volume 15, Number 3.

Ethics Poll

Conscience Claims and Physicians

The Ethics Poll is a snapshot of the opinions of interested readers.

A physician who conscientiously objects to performing a legal service has a duty to ensure the patientís access to that service by referral or some other means. Which of the following best describes your response to that statement?
Agree.
Disagree. Referral makes the physician complicit in an action that he or she believes is wrong.
Disagree. Nonreferral is OK as long as the physician makes public that he or she will neither perform the service nor refer patients to another clinician who will.

A physician who is unwilling to perform, under the appropriate clinical circumstances, any legal service for which he or she is board certified should not be practicing in that specialty.
Agree.
Disagree.
Don't know.

Performing a prohibited service, e.g., informing patients about certain family planning options such as abortion in hospitals or organizations where doing so is prohibited, is a worse offense than refusing to perform a legal service.
Agree.
Disagree.
Don't know.
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Poll results reflect the opinions of visitors to the site who voluntarily answer the poll questions. Those visitors do not represent a random sample of Virtual Mentor readers. The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.