MDs might not mention treatments they oppose

According to a new survey conducted by the University of Chicago, a meaningful subgroup of physicians feel that they do not have an obligation to tell patients about treatments, such as abortion and birth control for minors, they oppose on religious or moral grounds. The survey, which reached 1,144 doctors, found most (86 percent) respondents believe that doctors are obligated to present all treatment options, whether they approve of them or not. Seventy-one percent said that they feel they must at least refer patients to another doctor for treatments they oppose. But roughly 15 percent of doctors surveyed said that they had no obligation to present any option that violated their beliefs, meaning that by mathematical projection, tens of millions of patients may be seeing doctors who don't feel that they must mention all options. According to AMA policy, doctors can decline to give a treatment that they feel is immoral or violates their religious beliefs, but should attempt to give patients access to the full range of care through referrals and other methods. The study appears this week in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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