(July 2018) Being a Doctor and Being a Hospital

Rosamond Rhodes & Michael Danziger
The American Journal of Bioethics, 18:7, 51-53
Doi: 10.1080/15265161.2018.1478021

In his excellent piece, “Provider Conscientious Refusal of Abortion, Obstetrical Emergencies, and Criminal Homicide Law,” Lawrence Nelson makes a compelling legal argument against physicians’ refusal to provide life-saving abortions (Nelson 2018). We want to make the equivalent moral argument. Nelson says that physicians who refuse to perform abortions are violating the “legal duty to treat the woman,” but he suggests that they may be “honoring a moral duty not to kill a fetus.” We take issue with that suggestion. Instead, we maintain that just as a physician who refuses to provide abortion violates a legal duty, that physician violates a moral duty as well.

Abstract and excerpt: American Journal of Bioethics