Conscientious objection and LGBTQ discrimination in the United States

Abram Brummett, Lisa Campo-Engelstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Given recent legal developments in the United States, now is a critical time to draw attention to how ‘conscientious objection’ is sometimes used by health care providers to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. We review legal developments from 2019 and present several cases where health care providers used conscientious objection in ways that discriminate against the LGBTQ community, resulting in damaged trust by this underserved population. We then discuss two important conceptual points in this debate. The first involves the interpretation of discrimination (provider versus patient-centered views), and we argue for a patient-centered view; the second involves the use of the people versus procedure distinction to reach a compromise between LGBTQ individuals and the clinicians who do not want to treat them. We argue the distinction is problematic when applied to treatment of the LGBTQ population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)322-330
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • Conscientious objection
  • Discrimination
  • Healthcare access
  • LGBTQ rights

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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