Annual Lehman Medical Ethics Lecture to Explore “Conscientious Objection in Health Care”

Mark Wicclair
Mark R. Wicclair, Ph.D.

Mark R. Wicclair, Ph.D., will present the 13th annual Lehman Medical Ethics Lecture at Allegheny College on Wednesday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Quigley Hall Auditorium. The talk — titled “Conscientious Objection in Health Care: Deciding When to Accommodate Health Professionals” — is free and open to the public.

Wicclair, a philosopher, is an adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Bioethics and Health Law. He teaches in the Master of Arts in Bioethics Program, the center’s Consortium Ethics Program, and the Clinical Ethics Training Program, in which he coordinates the fourth-year medical ethics elective. His primary research and teaching interests are in bioethics and applied ethics, and he has published extensively in these areas.

Wicclair’s publications include the book “Conscientious Objection in Health Care: An Ethical Analysis” (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which provides a comprehensive ethical analysis of conscientious objection in medicine, nursing and pharmacy. He critically examines two extreme positions: the “incompatibility thesis,” which holds that it is contrary to the professional obligations of practitioners to refuse provision of any service within the scope of their professional competence, and “conscience absolutism,” which holds that they should be exempted from performing any action contrary to their conscience. Wicclair argues for a compromise approach that accommodates conscience-based refusals within the limits of specified ethical constraints.

Wicclair’s lecture is made possible through the generous gifts of John W. Lehman, M.D., who graduated from Allegheny College in 1954, and Deborah J. Lehman.

For more information, contact Kirsten Peterson, director of pre-professional advising at Allegheny College, at (814) 332-2845 or