Ethical discourse of medical students and physicians on conscientious objection: A qualitative study in Turkey

KELEŞ Ş., Aksu M., Gulpinar G., YALIM N. Y.

DEVELOPING WORLD BIOETHICS, vol.21, no.2, pp.78-89, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/dewb.12314
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, CINAHL, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, MEDLINE, PAIS International, Philosopher's Index, Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.78-89
  • Keywords: bioethics, applied ethics, conscientious objection, medical students, physicians, HEALTH-CARE, ACCOMMODATION, DEFENSE
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


This study is an investigation of the views of medical students (N=15) and physicians (N=14), in Turkey, on conscientious objection through elaboration on their experiences in medical practice within the framework of conscientious objection, and evaluation of the data from an ethical perspective. The data received from in--depth interviews were evaluated by using the thematic content analysis method. They were then divided into contexts and themes as follows: "Refusal to provide healthcare services," "scope of conscientious objection," and "impact of conscientious objection (in case of legal entitlement)." The opinions of our research participants suggest that conscientious objection has become widespread in medical practices. It is argued that the tendency of healthcare providers and patients to find temporary resolutions to ethical dilemmas only complicates such resolutions. It is imperative, therefore, to set a rational limit on conscientious objection so as to prevent the adoption of an attitude shaped completely by the personal beliefs of the physician or the patient.