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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


ECHEVERRIA B., Carlos et al. Conscientious objection in medical actions. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2020, vol.148, n.2, pp.252-257. ISSN 0034-9887.

Conscientious Objection arises as a response to a regulation that is judged as immoral. Faced with a law that is considered unfair, the citizen can respond accepting it against his will, exercising conscientious objection on a personal level or, collectively reaching civil disobedience or revolutionary violence. This is an old discussion known since ancient Greece. The current enactment of laws that allow actions previously judged as crime, and that contravene medical tradition, reactivated the discussion about such objection. Some people, such as Savolescu, who denies the legitimacy of conscientious objection invoked by doctors, arguing that it is inefficient, leads to inequality and is inconsistent. He proposes that the values of these professionals can be tolerated privately but should not be determinant in the public sphere. These arguments are critically examined, mentioning pertinent answers from theoretical and practical points of view. We highlight that ethics should not differ in public and private spheres and the principles should be the same, but exercised in different fields. It is concluded that conscientious objection is acquiring legitimacy and that it is necessary to reflect on the underlying reasons that lead to invoke it. It should be considered a civilized resource against determinations of power that are considered to be an attempt against personal values and moral integrity.

Palabras clave : Conscience; Conscientious Refusal to Treat; Refusal to Treat.

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