This week you studied bioethical issues as they relate to the healthcare worker. For this week’s assignment, conduct independent research (outside of your text) for current bioethical issues. Provide three examples of current, bioethical issues and explain the surrounding ethical issues. For the second part of your paper, discuss the importance of the conscience clause. Should healthcare workers and facilities have the ability to refuse to perform certain procedures based on moral or religious objections?


In recent years, there have been several bioethical issues that have sparked significant debates within the healthcare field. These issues revolve around ethical dilemmas that healthcare workers face in the course of their professional duties. This paper aims to provide three examples of current bioethical issues and explain the surrounding ethical concerns. Additionally, it will address the importance of the conscience clause, which grants healthcare workers and facilities the ability to refuse to perform certain procedures based on moral or religious objections.

Examples of Current Bioethical Issues:

1. Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia:

Assisted suicide and euthanasia are highly controversial topics that continue to spark ethical debates. Assisted suicide refers to the act of providing assistance to terminally ill individuals who wish to end their lives, whereas euthanasia involves the deliberate termination of a patient’s life by a healthcare professional. The main ethical concern surrounding these practices is the right to die versus the sanctity of life.

Supporters of assisted suicide and euthanasia argue that individuals should have the right to end their suffering and die with dignity. From their perspective, individuals who are terminally ill and in extreme pain should have the autonomy to make decisions about their own lives. However, opponents believe that intentionally causing death, even in such circumstances, goes against the principles of medical ethics and violates the physicians’ duty to preserve life.

2. Genetic Testing and Privacy:

Advancements in genetic testing have raised important ethical concerns regarding privacy and consent. Genetic testing allows for the identification of potential health risks, including genetic conditions and predispositions to certain diseases. However, the collection and storage of genetic information can put individuals’ privacy at risk.

One ethical concern is the potential for discrimination based on genetic information. Employers and insurance companies could potentially use genetic test results to make decisions about hiring or coverage, leading to unfair treatment towards individuals with certain genetic profiles. Furthermore, the ambiguity surrounding the storage and security of genetic data raises questions about who should have access to this sensitive information and how it should be protected.

3. Organ Transplantation and Allocation:

The rising demand for organ transplants has resulted in complex ethical dilemmas surrounding organ allocation and the determination of who receives life-saving organs. The scarcity of organ donations creates a situation where some individuals may not receive the organs they desperately need. Additionally, inequalities in access to organ transplantation can arise due to factors such as socioeconomic status or geographic location.

Ethical concerns arise regarding how organs should be allocated and whether certain criteria should be prioritized. For example, should organs be allocated based solely on medical need, or should other factors such as age, productivity, or social worth be considered? The ethical principles of fairness, justice, and equitable distribution of resources are central in navigating these complex bioethical issues.

The Importance of the Conscience Clause:

The conscience clause allows healthcare workers and facilities the ability to refuse to perform certain procedures based on moral or religious objections. It recognizes the importance of allowing individuals to exercise their conscience when it conflicts with the professional obligations they face. Proponents argue that the conscience clause upholds individual autonomy and protects healthcare workers’ religious and moral beliefs.

The conscience clause is particularly relevant in issues such as abortion and reproductive health services. Healthcare workers who hold conscientious objections to these procedures may argue that their participation in these practices goes against their deeply held beliefs. Granting them the right to refuse ensures their moral integrity is preserved and accommodates diversity of beliefs within the healthcare field.

However, critics argue that the conscience clause may limit patients’ access to necessary and legal medical procedures. They contend that healthcare workers have a professional obligation to provide comprehensive care, and refusing certain procedures may lead to inadequate patient care or discrimination. Striking a balance between respecting individual autonomy and ensuring access to healthcare services remains a complex task.


Bioethical issues in healthcare continue to raise important ethical concerns. Examples like assisted suicide and euthanasia, genetic testing and privacy, and organ transplantation and allocation highlight the complexity of ethical dilemmas faced by healthcare professionals. The conscience clause provides a mechanism to address conflicts between moral or religious beliefs of healthcare workers and their professional obligations. Striking a delicate balance between individual autonomy and patient access to necessary care remains a crucial challenge. Ongoing discussions and debates are necessary to ensure the ethical principles of beneficence, autonomy, and justice are upheld within the healthcare system.