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“Freedom of Conscience” Legislation

Freedom of conscience legislation refers to laws and legislative measures that protect the right of pharmacists, physicians, and other healthcare workers to refuse to provide healthcare services if doing so would conflict with their personal beliefs. Such legislation permits healthcare professionals to withhold these services without fear of penalty or discrimination.

Conscience clauses, also known as “refusal clauses,” have recently become a source of increased scrutiny and debate. At the heart of public debate regarding freedom of conscience legislation is the question of how to balance the provider's moral or religious beliefs, especially the right to act in accordance with one's conscience, with the professional duty of care, or collective obligation to fulfill patient needs and provide nondiscriminatory access to professional services regardless of ...

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