Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Ken Kirkwood


Conscientious objection within health care is defined as a refusal to comply with a medically sanctioned request based on personal moral, or religious moral reasons. Although conscientious objection is an important foundation in bioethics, most research has focused on the legitimacy of its use by individual health care professionals. The following ethical analysis examines the ethical implications of Catholic hospital conscientious objections to providing reproductive services to which they are morally opposed within the context of the Canadian health care system, and more specifically within rural areas. Conclusions o f the analysis suggest that hospitals do not possess a conscience according to the dominant view of conscience in bioethics and that limitations on the objections of Catholic hospitals are warranted in a number of important circumstances, many of which include rural areas. This analysis will help further the limited body of knowledge concerning conscientious objections by Catholic hospitals in Canada and inform future health policy decisions



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