Can doctors refuse to treat a patient?

United States President Donald Trump recently announced a new rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, that allows doctors, hospitals, insurers and other providers of healthcare to refuse to deliver or fund services like abortion, assisted suicide or procedures for transgender patients that they say violate their religious views.

The action has been criticised by Democrats and civil-liberties groups, with some arguing that it serves as a pretext for discrimination against marginalised groups and threatens to substitute religious views for sound medical advice. But what should doctors do when a patient's request runs counter to their moral convictions?

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 15, 2019, with the headline 'Can doctors refuse to treat a patient?'. Print Edition | Subscribe