Protection of Health-Care Providers’ Rights of Conscience in American Law: Present, Past, and Future


Right of Conscience, Healthcare Provider, Abortion

Document Type



This article reviews the past, present, and future state of healthcare providers’ right of conscience. It reviews the deeply embedded constitutional protections that recognize the right of conscience as a fundamental human right, and additionally, it shows that the constitutional doctrine of abortion privacy assumes and allows protection for the rights of conscience of healthcare providers. After reviewing the past, the present state of protection of right of conscience is set forth, including the Provider Conscience Rule adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2008. The future of the 2008 Provider Conscience Rule is considered, since there has been debate over rescinding it, and the article concludes that while it is possible to fully protect rights of conscience, full commitment is needed to honor this important, fundamental right.


9 Ave Maria L. Rev

Publication Title

Ave Maria Law Review

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