June 11, 2005
Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives are another fine example of how out of touch right-wing hate groups are with the rest of the country:
A new poll commissioned by the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA) has found overwhelming public support for women’s access to contraception. Eighty-eight percent of respondents supported women’s access to contraception, reports National Public Radio. Of self-identified Republicans, 80 percent supported a women’s right to use birth control, as did 80 percent of respondents who identified themselves as “pro-life.”
The scientific community has also joined the growing condemnation of pharmacists who force their own extreme religious views on customers. A Policy Forum in the latest issue of Science (abstract via Bush v. Choice—paid subscription required to read article) doesn’t pull punches:
Pharmacist refusals to dispense—and in some cases to refer or transfer—prescriptions for contraception threaten women’s access to basic health care both in the United States and around the world. In the United States, this problem appears to be growing; increasing reports of pharmacist refusals have surfaced in the media, and numerous states have introduced bills that would amend pharmacy codes to permit pharmacists to refuse to dispense contraception. This Policy Forum reviews current legal standards and professional ethics that govern the practice of pharmacy; this review, together with an assessment of the harm to women’s health, dictates that women must have access to contraception at the pharmacy without delay, harassment, or other interference.
But the hate groups aren’t giving up:
A pharmacist in Illinois has filed a lawsuit challenging an order by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich requiring pharmacies to dispense birth control and emergency contraceptives without delay.
… “Prior to this rule, I had always practiced pharmacy using my judgment and my conscience and the law as my guide,” he said. “Here comes this grenade thrown in here that says you’re going to have to do things that are morally objectionable.”
Abby Ottenhoff, a spokeswoman for Mr. Blagojevich, a Democrat, said the governor had issued the order to make sure women had access to the health care their doctors prescribed. “They’ve chosen to be in the field of providing contraceptives,” Ms. Ottenhoff said. “They don’t have the right to pick and choose who they’re going to serve.”
Eighty-eight percent of Americans agree.
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