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Poll: Personal Beliefs Shouldn’t Allow Doctors to Refuse to Treat

Last Updated: February 08, 2018.

Most people do not believe that professionals including health care providers should be allowed to refuse to provide services based on their conscience or beliefs, according to a recent HealthDay/The Harris Poll.

THURSDAY, Feb. 8, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- Most people do not believe that professionals including health care providers should be allowed to refuse to provide services based on their conscience or beliefs, according to a recent HealthDay/The Harris Poll.

Researchers from HealthDay and The Harris Poll conducted a survey to examine current attitudes toward health workers and other professionals who reject patients based on conscience/beliefs.

According to the poll, 55 percent of people do not believe that any of a list of seven occupations and professions should be allowed to refuse to provide services based on their conscience/beliefs. Thirty percent of adults believe members of the clergy, priests, or ministers should be allowed to do so, while 25 and 15 percent believe business owners and health care providers, respectively, should be allowed to do so. Fewer people think that pharmacists, restaurant workers, or educators should be allowed to refuse to provide services for these reasons (10, 13, and 12 percent, respectively). Twenty-four percent of adults believe that doctors, nurses, and health care providers should be allowed to refuse to perform certain surgical procedures; 13 percent believe they should be allowed to refuse to treat patients due to religious objections to their sexual orientation.

"There is strong public opposition to laws and regulations which allow doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to refuse to treat patients based on the their religious beliefs or conscience," Deana Percassi, managing director, public relations research practice for The Harris Poll, said in a statement.

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