Causes for Conscientious Objection in Medical Aid in Dying: A Scoping Review


  • Rosana Triviño-Caballero Department of Public Health and Maternal-Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • Iris Parra Jounou Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy and Arts, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra, Spain
  • Isabel Roldán Gómez Department of Philosophy, Logics, and Aesthetics, Faculty of Philosophy, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain
  • Maria Teresa Lopez de la Vieja Department of Law, History and Legal, Moral, and Political Philosophy, Faculty of Law, Universidad de Salamanca, Salamanca, Spain



Conscientious objection, euthanasia, assisted suicide, Medical aid in dying, MAID, causes, CO, conscience




In the light of current legislation on Medical Aid in Dying ─euthanasia and assisted suicide─ in different countries worldwide, there have been some arguments devoted to the right to conscientious objection for healthcare professionals in these specific practices. The goals of this scoping review are to provide an overview of the motivations and causes that lie behind conscientious objection identified by previous literature according to professionals’ experience and to verify if these motives match with theoretical debates on conscientious objection. As the results show, there seems to be a dissonance between the motivations included in the traditional and mainstream definition of conscientious objection that is used in the theoretical and speculative framework and the actual factors that empirical studies note as reported motivations to object to Medical Aid in Dying. Hence, either we consider new factors to include as causes of “conscience”, or we accept that there are motivations that are not actually applicable to conscientious objection and should be addressed by other means. As conscientious objection in Medical Aid in Dying is multifaceted, we claim from the results that there can be different kinds of motivations acting at the same time. In any case, it is helpful to rebalance theoretical and empirical considerations to fully understand the complexity of the phenomenon and give some insights on how to deal with it. 




How to Cite

Triviño-Caballero R, Parra Jounou I, Roldán Gómez I, Lopez de la Vieja MT. Causes for Conscientious Objection in Medical Aid in Dying: A Scoping Review. Can. J. Bioeth 2023;6:102-14.