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The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly

Volume 17, Issue 3, Autumn 2017

Christine A. O’Riley
Pages 425-434

Protecting the Free Exercise of Religion in Health Care Delivery

Not all actions that are legal are necessarily morally correct. However, there are few protections for providers who are pressured to comply with actions and procedures that infringe on their religious beliefs regarding human dignity. The right of health care providers to freely act on religious convictions and refrain from cooperating with morally reprehensible tasks is often eschewed in favor of political correctness or is branded as discrimination. Adequate safeguards are urgently needed for health care workers at all levels to ensure that they can continue to care for the sick and most vulnerable members of the community without violating the dictates of their conscience. This article examines the free exercise of religion as it pertains to medical provider conscience protections. The author argues for conscience protection legislation with a right of action.