A consensus exists among Canadian medical associations that physicians have a right to object to providing health care services on conscientious grounds. Like all human rights, however, the right to conscientious objection is not absolute; it must be exercised in a manner that does not compromise patients' rights to equal and timely access to health care services. This means a physician cannot object to providing a service if the delay that would result from doing so would jeopardise a patient's life or health. Where conscientious objection can be exercised without threatening a patient's life or health, the physician has obligations to exercise the right to conscientious objection in a manner that respects patients' dignity, and provides them with the health care information and referrals necessary to ensure that they receive timely access to care.
Bruce B. Ryder
Journal name not available for this finding