Archive for Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Kansas avoids debate on morning-after pill

February 28, 2006


Battles over access to the "morning-after pill" are raging in state legislatures nationwide, but Kansas - usually an eager participant in culture wars - is sitting this one out.

For now.

Those representing Kansas pharmacists, reproductive-rights groups and anti-abortion activists on Monday said while the issue was on their radar screens, other matters were higher on the agenda.

"To be honest, I'm pretty surprised," said Judy Smith, state director for Concerned Women of America, a conservative Christian organization. "I fully expect it to hit Kansas. Kansas never seems to be exempt from these things."

The issue is already percolating. Earlier this month, Planned Parenthood backed a rally at a Wichita pharmacy where a pharmacist had refused to fill a prescription for the drug.

But Peter Brownlie, president of Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri, said his organization wouldn't seek Kansas legislation requiring pharmacists to fill such prescriptions, even though a similar effort is under way in Missouri.

"Our preference is to try to deal on a case-by-case basis helping women gain access to emergency contraception," Brownlie said.

The debates across the nation have taken place in the wake of incidents where pharmacists - citing moral objections to the pills - have refused to fill prescriptions. More than 60 bills regarding the matter have been filed in state legislatures this year.

Many of the state bills intended to expand access give specially trained pharmacists in states including Maryland, New York, Kentucky and Illinois the right to dispense emergency contraception without a prescription. Other bills require pharmacies to stock and distribute the drug, and to ensure that the pill is made available to women who come into emergency rooms after a sexual assault.

But some bills would make it more difficult for many women to get emergency contraception, which is effective for only 72 hours after a woman experiences a contraceptive failure or unprotected sex. Legislation in New Hampshire, for instance, would require parental notification before the drug is dispensed, and more than 20 other states will consider bills that give pharmacies the right to not stock the drug and pharmacists the right to not dispense it, even to women with valid prescriptions.

Debra Billingsley, executive director of the Kansas Board of Pharmacy, said state law was vague. A pharmacist could use "professional discretion" to refuse to fill a prescription, but the statute didn't address moral considerations.

John Kiefhaber, executive director of the 1,300-member Kansas Pharmacists Assn., said his constituents didn't want the law to change.

"They talk about it, and they generally have two points they make: One is to serve the patient first, and that can be done by transferring the patient to another pharmacist if necessary," he said. "The second is to retain their professional discretion."

It's rare, he said, that a woman seeking the pill wouldn't be able to find a nearby pharmacist to fill the order.

Pharmacists, Kiefhaber said, aren't spoiling for a fight on the issue.

"We've got our hands full," he said, "with Medicare Part D."

- The Washington Post contributed to this story.


lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

bettie, actually i did not get my direct quote from some bishops. but, you are simply stating the planned parenthood propaganda. there was a doctor Haskell who testified in front of congress a few years ago. he stated that 80% of the late term abortions were performed for convenience. if you look at the KDHE pdf files from their website regarding the recorded abortions, the majority of the third trimester abortions performed in kansas are not performed on non-viable babies. they are performed on viable babies, and not one instance were any of these performed to save the life of the mother.

so in essence, if a woman wants to get a late term abortion, all she has to do is get a recommendation from an abortion doctor who doesn't do late term abortions because they aren't equipped to do it, then go see the good doctor in wichita to get him to sign off on it. a simple referral from one doctor to another.

mcoan 12 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm. Something isn't right. Where are the ignorant Kansas rednecks? Probably too busy trying to prosecute kids for having sex.

How about this: if you're a professional pharmacist, you don't get to pick and choose what LEGAL scrips you fill! You do your freakin' job or you're fired. Simple enough.

Phil Kline will be on the case soon enough.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

How about this:

If a 'professional pharmacist' is a business owner, he has a right to decide what products he will and will not carry at his business, just as I have a right to take my business to another pharmacist.

However, if that pharmacist works for a national chain that doesn't have a policy saying they won't distribute a product, he doesn't have the right to set the policy for that business based on his personal morals. However, that should be addressed by the national chain, not the legal system. They should counsel him about not setting policy for them, and tell him to find a new job if he cannot see his way clear to dispensing legal medications the chain has decided it will carry.

Mcoan, has anyone ever introduced you to the adage, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?" It means that you're much more likely to get people to listen to you and agree with you if you're courteous and nice than if you're a nasty sourpuss.

I might recommend it, as you're kind of engaging in empty frothing right now, without even having a clear target for all that screed.

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

This is a straight First Amendment Religious Liberty issue. I am surprised the retread hippies are against freedom. Perhaps it's time to grow up.

holyjim 12 years, 3 months ago

As a medical professional I've taken care of white supremacists, "gangstas," non-compliants, and others whom I find "morally objectionable." The patient comes first, period. I have no, zip, zero respect for these pharmacists who won't fill a legal prescription and I feel their licenses should be revoked. One doesn't take this kind of job to assuage one's political views; it's a social undertaking and our society (like it or not) includes people who (gasp!) may not have the same moral or personal outlook as you. Are scientologists allowed to be pharmacists? If so, do they refuse psychotropic medications? That must be a huge relief to the schizophrenics trying to control their hallucinations or those with Parkinson's trying to control their shaking. I guess badger must also be against the smoking ban as the business owner should have the right to decide for herself (I am against the ban on these grounds).

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

as a medical professional..... sure, sure holy jim.....whatever.

why can't tommy, the 18 year old, buy a porno mag at the walmarts? where is his freedom, and why does walmart keep him from exercising his freedom of thought and more importantly why are they infringing on the freedom of the press?

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

here's a better analogy holyjim:

mary sue, a 16 year who is 8 months pregnant has decided she isn't mentally capable of raising the child, i mean fetus. she decides to get an abortion, so using your analogy, any doctor who is medically licensed should have to perform the abortion regardless of what they believe.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, I haven't really been able to muster a strong opinion on the smoking ban. The closest I can get to it is that these things shouldn't be decided top-down with legislation.

The thing is, the morning-after pill is essentially an elective medication. It's unlikely that the filling of that prescription will be a matter of life and death.

Medical professionals are obligated by no stretch of the Hippocratic Oath to perform elective procedures. They are obligated to ease pain and suffering, and to preserve life. If I go to my doctor and ask to have my healthy appendix removed, he is within his rights to say, "No, I don't condone the removal of healthy tissue, so I will not perform that surgery."

The morning-after pill is little more than an extra-strong dose of birth control, but there is a perception that it terminates a potential pregnancy, and some people aren't willing to participate in that. I'm willing to respect that. Doctors aren't forced by the legislature to perform abortions, or prescribe acne medication, or remove a healthy appendix, or perform any other elective procedure. The political charging has come about because in this country we are unable to discuss abortion or anything touching it as what they really are - elective medical procedures, the discussions and decisions surrounding which are the business of a woman and her doctor and no one else.

Do I think that a pharmacist should impose himself between a patient and a doctor and overrule the course of treatment decided upon by the two of them? Hell no. I think it's not his place, regardless of his moral convictions (and it's not a political decision, it's a moral one). If he cannot handle the moral ramifications of the medications he may be asked to provide, he should find a new job.

However, do I think that I want the Legislature mucking about dictating the rules of patient care to medical professionals? Double hell no. That's a can of worms I don't trust my government to open.

So, if my choices are (which they seem to be) allowing individual pharmacies to decide what products they will and will not carry or allowing the Legislature to meddle further in a woman's private medical issues, I will choose the former and what small evils come with it instead of the latter and its potential for enormous abuses.

I think, by the way, it's a perfectly reasonable option to have doctors or clinics dispense the drug themselves, because it's safe to assume that if a doctor has no moral objections to prescribing it, he has no moral objections to administering it.

Shardwurm 12 years, 3 months ago

I don't know how the smoking ban got in this debate but since it's here I'll just say I'm all for it.

But I've got my own solution to stopping smokers in other towns: They smoke while I'm eating so when I'm done I get a big 'ol chaw of Red Man and work up a good juice. Then, after I get their attention, I fill up a clear glass with a steady stream of 'backy juice, and wipe the residue off my mouth with my sleeve.

After they heave up that $30 dinner I get up and leave. Works every time.

Now...back to your regularly scheduled debate...

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 12 years, 3 months ago

If the pharmacist owns his own store, he should be able to choose which drugs he carries, particularly those related to elective procedures. Don't like it? Don't give him your business.

Confrontation 12 years, 3 months ago

Some of these pharmacists go home, beat their wives, cheat with the neighbor, curse at God, charge too much for meds (stealing), and then act like they have a moral ground to stand on.... sounds like your average hypocrite to me. They are just like other religious folk, picking and choosing which part of their religion they practice.

Dani Davey 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, lunacydetector, your analogy is wrong. Abortion in the third trimester is illegal, so a doctor who performed one on an 8 month fetus would probably go to jail.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Confrontation, are you specifically saying that a pharmacist who has refused to fill a morning-after pill prescription or said he would refuse to do so has engaged in these activities? Since some of those are illegal, you should certainly report any crimes you have knowledge of to the proper authorities.

If you're specifically alleging that a pharmacist who has refused to fill a prescription based on 'moral' grounds has done these things, you may want to be ready to defend that statement against a libel charge if you care to attach more than a vague insinuation to it.

Now, if your contention is that because some pharmacists are immoral and criminal, then none of them have any right to base a decision on their morals without being hypocrites, that's just inflammatory and inaccurate. If Joe is a bad person, it doesn't say anything at all about what sort of person Jim is, and you're just clouding the issue with vague and misleading accusations.

cowgomoo 12 years, 3 months ago

Actually, Confrontation was just riffing on a Prof. Mirecki line.

Confrontation 12 years, 3 months ago

Obviously, Badger fails to see anything outside his/her/its own little cave. It is obvious that not all pharmacists do all of these sins, but they do what every other "moral" crusader does. They take the high road on those issues where they haven't sinned, yet they fail their religions in so many other ways. Badger, you apparently equate "some" with "all," and that's your problem. If those who practice religions believe that we are all sinners, then why do they pick and choose which sins can be tolerated? Please feel free to find a pharmacist, or any other human for that matter, who hasn't sinned and then turned around and bashed others for their sins.

Confrontation 12 years, 3 months ago

And before you know it, all of humanity will crumble to the ground! Slippery Slope

lunacydetector 12 years, 3 months ago

dani, actually you are wrong. a woman can have an abortion up until she gives birth. show me where women cannot have a third trimester abortion in the united states. you can't, unless some state recently passed a law that is being challenged in the courts.

it is perfectly legal to have an abortion up until birth. that's what separates us from other countries. remember the controversy over dr. tiller "the killer" in wichita? he is one of few who performs late term abortions.

Roe v. Wade made abortion a "constitutional" right. the court established a trimester system defining parameters within which states could limit abortion. states could not restrict abortion at all during the first three months of pregnancy. states were permitted to apply some restrictions (i.e., licensing of doctors and health facilities, health codes, etc.) from the end of the third month up to the point of viability. the Court permitted states to outlaw abortions from viability until birth, except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.

it sounds like Roe made it possible for a state to outlaw late-term abortions, but that's not the case. the same day as Roe, another case, Doe v. Bolton, defined "health of the mother" to include all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age. because the court defined health so loosely, a woman can have an abortion for any reason and at any time during her pregnancy.

Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton supersede all state laws, allowing a woman to legally obtain an abortion for any reason throughout all nine months.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Confrontation said:

"(snip) If those who practice religions believe that we are all sinners, then why do they pick and choose which sins can be tolerated? Please feel free to find a pharmacist, or any other human for that matter, who hasn't sinned and then turned around and bashed others for their sins."

Well, given that my pharmacist is pagan and she doesn't believe in sin, I have found one. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

OK, if I follow your reasoning it's that no one who has ever committed what you call a 'sin' has a right to take any sort of moral stand on anything, or to make decisions based on a personal morality.

So, these 'sins' you describe (being that I also don't believe in the concept of sin), who defines them again? Maybe something you see as sin really isn't one. How do you know? It might not be.

You said: "Some of these pharmacists go home, beat their wives, cheat with the neighbor, curse at God, charge too much for meds (stealing), and then act like they have a moral ground to stand on.... sounds like your average hypocrite to me. They are just like other religious folk, picking and choosing which part of their religion they practice."

Sounds like you have a bone to pick with religious folk. I'm not one of those, so I'll leave you to it on that. However, your implication is that pharmacists don't have the right to make moral decisions that affect other people because they're not morally 'right' themselves. That logic only works if the same pharmacists that are saying they won't fill that prescription are the ones committing all these 'sins' you allege are running rampant through the pharmaceutical world. If they are, I'd like to see some sort of justification for the accusation. If they aren't, then what you're saying is essentially meaningless.

Finally, these pharmacists aren't (to my knowledge) trying to prevent people from having access to this drug. They are choosing to prefer not to participate in a process they believe is immoral. The article states that if pharmacists are unable to fill a prescription, they will direct a woman to a pharmacist who does. I see nothing sinister or nefarious, or even controlling about it.

My position on this is based in a firm belief that the government MUST insert itself no further into the medical decisions of its citizens, and cannot become involved in a dispute over whether to force a medical professional to participate in an elective medical procedure. I am staunchly pro-choice and have been actively so for fifteen years. I simply believe that in this case, as in all cases touching on medical procedures best decided between doctor and patient, the government can do no good in the long run by meddling.

wonderhorse 12 years, 3 months ago

"why can't tommy, the 18 year old, buy a porno mag at the walmarts?"

This one is easy--because walmart doesn't carry them. He needs to go to a place where they are sold, and then he can purchase them.

If a pharmacist works in a pharmacy that dispenses morning after pills, he should have to dispense them as per company policy. His morals should kick in before accepting the job. To work for a retail company and refuse to sell some of their goods on moral grounds is moral cowardice.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Parkay said:

"The morning after pill (Plan B) is an abortifacient with known dangerous side effects in women, and the long-term effects on girls under 16 are not known at all."

One untruth, one half-truth, and one truth. Untruth: It is not an abortifacient. The reason it must be administered within 72 hours is because it prevents implantation. It does not cause abortion any more than being on birth control when you get pregnant does. Half-truth: The dangerous side effects are the same dangerous side effects listed for birth control pills. Truth: Long-term research has not been completed for girls under 16, because the pill hasn't been prescribed for that age group often enough for a solid body of evidence to be gathered.

"Statistically, we know that this drug does not reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, but that easy access does significantly increase the rate of venereal disease infections."

Actually, this isn't true. The morning after pill does reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies, because you never get pregnant. It doesn't increase the transmission of STDs. No woman who has gone through the morning after pill (which gives you all the fun of PMS and none of its winsome charm, packed into 12-36 hours) is ever going to consider it a reasonable or pleasant alternative to birth control.

"Easy access leads to sexual predators coercively or secretly administering the abortifacient to their victims."

Administering a prescription drug to anyone for whom it is not prescribed, and especially doing so without their knowledge, is a felony. No need for new law, it's already against the ole ones. Also, I think this is a myth, too. Why would a predator give someone a double-shot of birth control when rohypnol is probably cheaper and easier to obtain?

"This contraceptive overdose is known to sometimes cause the death of a fertilized human embryo (which is often the intent)."

It causes the non-implantation of a fertilized embryo, just like birth control pills do. It's really no different from a large-dose birth control pill. Here are some other things that cause non-implantation: stress, poor diet, alcohol consumption, uterine scarring (can be caused by asymptomatic yeast infections), yeast infections, low iron, high iron, anxiety, and a wide variety of prescription drugs. All those things cause the 'death' of a fertilized human embryo, too.

It is not right to deny the right of conscience to pharmacists who refuse to participate in the destruction of human life, and every state should protect pharmacists with freedom of conscience laws."

I agree with the first half, and disagree with the second. It isn't right to tell people they have to do something they don't feel is right. However, we need laws protecting freedom of conscience no more than we need laws limiting it.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, the whole of that second to last paragraph should be in quotes. Parkay said it, not me.

Confrontation 12 years, 3 months ago

Badger, you totally miss my argument, which is no surprise. I am simply saying that pharmacists, like everyone else (including you and me), pick and choose which sins are "okay." These pharmacists that are refusing to sale these drugs are doing so because of their religious beliefs. Using a Pagan as an example is okay, since you are implying that she has no moral standings on anything and would never ever judge someone else based on their beliefs. Saying that a pharmacists should be able to pick and choose which part of their professional code of ethics that they practice, is like saying a cop should be able to ignore a domestic violence situation since the bible tells him its okay to beat your wife (I am not saying that it does, but we all know idiot men who justify their actions by saying this).

bettie 12 years, 3 months ago


actually, you are the one in the wrong. the following exceptions must be made to ANY law prohibiting or restricting abortion:

"because continued pregnancy would endanger a pregnant woman's life or injure her health; the fetus would likely be born with a serious defect; or the pregnancy resulted from rape."

that's straight from the supreme court decision. your explanation, however, comes straight from the united states conference of catholic bishops. "Doe v. Bolton, defined "health of the mother" to include all factors-physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age. because the court defined health so loosely, a woman can have an abortion for any reason and at any time during her pregnancy." (

a woman cannot, as you assert, have an abortion for any reason at any point during the pregancy. dr. tiller, one of the couple of remaining doctors who will perform this procedure in the u.s., operates under kansas law, which bans all abortions after 22 weeks except under the circumstances described in doe v. bolton.

furthermore, he cannot decide on his own that a woman's health (mental or physical) is in danger and that an abortion is warranted. another physician which, by law, can have absolutely no financial, professional, or other relationship to him, must concur with the opinion. in most cases, this happens when a woman's primary care physician, obstetrician, psychologist, or other doctor refers her to his clinic. doctors from all over the country refer patients to dr. tiller - they don't just show up at his clinic and ask him to declare them endangered. it does not, and cannot, work that way.

no, a woman cannot just decide during the eighth month of pregnancy that she doesn't want to have a child. the laws are very clear on this and, i might add, very strictly enforced.

women who undergo abortions after 22 weeks do it because their doctors have deemed it necessary. most of them are devestated - they've already decorated the baby room, picked out names, the whole nine yards.

you might be asking, "why don't they just have the abortion sooner?" the most serious fetal abnormalitis (i.e. trisomy 13) are difficult if not impossible to detect earlier in the pregnancy, as are many medical complications for the mother.

of course, all of these exceptions hang in the balance now that bush's "partial-birth abortion act" is being taken up by the supreme court. since abortions after 22 weeks are against the law already, this law would only get rid of the exceptions outlined in doe v. bolton. that's why every time it's been challenged in a district court, it's been declared unconstitutional. that is, the courts have repeatedly recognized that the mother's health takes precedence.

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

I see you're working to live up to your name, Confrontation.

It seems to me that your point is that no one who ever does anything wrong ever has a right to take a moral stand on anything, because there are other 'sins' in their lives. I'm not sure that has much relevance as to whether the government has any business meddling in the medical affairs of women.

I am not deeply acquainted with the morals of my pharmacist; I just know she's pagan because she was wearing a pentagram and I asked her about it. You challenged me to find a pharmacist who doesn't sin and then turn around and criticize the sins of others. Agreement with your concept of 'sin' doesn't mean a thing in the context of morality. Pagans believe in right and wrong and morals, but usually not sin as a concept. I imagine that she does have a fair bit of moral character and never meant to imply otherwise. I don't know if she ever criticizes anyone for their choices; she's never criticized me for mine.

These pharmacists are choosing which elective medical processes they will participate in. A police officer swears to uphold and enforce the law; he is bound by that oath to enforce even the laws he thinks are wrong. He doesn't have discretion to say, "Hey, this law is an elective law; I don't think I want to enforce it." Law is static, not elective.

Professional discretion in the medical field means that physicians are only bound by the Hippocratic Oath to perform life-saving or pain-easing procedures, not elective ones. I believe pharmacists should have that right too. Just like a doctor shouldn't be bound by law to prescribe a morning-after pill, a pharmacist shouldn't be bound by law to provide it. The legislature has no place in the decisions made between a woman and her medical providers.

I notice you seem to have backed down from your original stance that 'some of' the pharmacists refusing to prescribe the morning after pill are wife-beating adulterous thieves. That's probably wise.

Y'know, it seems your indictment of them is based on what you perceive as their 'sins'. Since it seems that your premise is that those who have 'sins' are not allowed to make moral stands on things, where precisely do you get off criticizing the moral choices and character of anyone else? Would an examination show your life to be blameless and give you free reign not only to make decisions based on your morals (which is equivalent to what these pharmacists do) but also to criticize others' moral decisions and attempt to mandate how they will or will not be allowed to use their own morality to make decisions (which these pharmacists are not doing)?

You know, they're not trying to take it off the market. They just don't want to be forced by law to provide it. I think that it's fair for medical professionals to want to retain some degree of professional discretion.

wonderhorse 12 years, 3 months ago


And that's fine, as long as their employer knows that that is their stance beforehand. I believe that if they are morally against filling the prescription on moral grounds, then morally they should not be working in an establishment that would expect them to do so.

usaschools 12 years, 3 months ago

If I, as a teacher, don't want to teach the children of ultra-right-wing conservative evangelical extremists whose adult belief system is idential to the one they had in sunday school at age 5, am I entitled to do so as a first amendment right? Oh wait, I WANT to teach their children. About time someone in the family got an education.

Jamesaust 12 years, 3 months ago

Various points -

(A) Pharmacists are in a priviledged profession. Entrance is limited; minimum standards are set; professional associations set ethical standards. As such, this is not a matter of 'its my pharmacy; I can do what I please.'

The American Pharmacist Association has adopted conscience clauses that ethically allow refusals as in this article IF the patient is referred to another pharmacist who will fill the prescription. That seems a very reasonable balance between person morality and professional duty.

(B) Personal choice is regularly balanced with professional duties in many formal professions such as medicine or law. I am reminded of a situation a dozen years ago or so (I believe) in Illinois where the state bar association had to make an admission decision about a new law school grad who met all of the formal qualifications with one possible exception: the applicant was a white supremicist (among other things). In the end, the bar association turned him down under the theory that he could not take on cases involving various clients (minority races, minority religions, homosexuals) and fulfill his full ethical duty to "vigorously" defend his clients' interests.

(C) There is a question of to WHOM the pharmacist owes a duty - the patient/client or to society - when there is a conflict. "Lesser" professions (by which I mean no insult) such as engineers or accountants are regulated and carry high professional standards just as journalists serve important 'constitutional' functions. But, unlike ministers, doctors, and lawyers, they do not have a legal priviledge against society. In other words, they must place societal interests first over their patient/client (in broad terms - there are exceptions). Journalists during the recent CIA leak case found this out when they tried to refuse to reveal their sources. In the Enron mess, accountants suffered a heavy burden whereas attorneys appear to have suffered relatively little (accountants are first responsible to society and only then to their clients whereas attorneys are responsible to society by putting their clients' interests first - that difference has consequences).

The question here is: which side do pharmacists fall on when they must choose their duty? Engineers or accountants for example freely choose their clients. I am unaware of any instance where they would not be wholly free - legally or professionally - to refuse their expertise to anyone for any reason. Ministers, doctors, and lawyers, at least under several common circumstances, either have a legal duty or as a professsion regularly take on providing their expertise to persons for whom they may personally have the most extreme personal distaste. Which group do pharmacists wish to be in? Its a pop-cliche but -- with great power comes great responsiblity.

The_Twelve 12 years, 3 months ago

Of course, if any one of these pharmacists was "ethical," s/he would refuse to fill any prescription for any number of life-threatening diseases. We all know that our days are numbered--by God. If God wants us to die, why should a pharmacist stop Him? That's the real question right? Who plays "God"?? So what's the diff?

badger 12 years, 3 months ago

Wonderhorse -

I could not agree more.

Absolutely, employers need to make clear, "Hey, it is the policy of this company to dispense the morning-after pill when it is prescribed by a doctor. Unless you believe a medication has been prescribed in error (in which case you should contact the physician for clarification), all medications are to be dispensed as written." And if you are morally unable to dispense the medications your company chooses to provide, then you have an obligation to make that clearly known to them, and likely find another job. Even if it's your own shop, you may experience some problems when one of your customers' daughters, already traumatized by a rape, is unable to get birth control because you think what she wants is 'immoral'. That family's probably not coming back.

Jamesaust, in most cases these pharmacists are able to refer people to other pharmacies that will fill the prescription. I do question the comparison with the white supremacist lawyer; it's not the patients that the pharmacists find distasteful, it's the procedure. It's more akin to a lawyer saying he will not take divorce cases because he believes divorce is immoral. Would there be such an uproar if that happened? Or would the person in question just find a different lawyer?

The situations in which medical professionals are mandated to provide care are those that are a matter of life and death or those required by court order. A doctor can't refuse an emergency tracheotomy, but he can refuse to perform a gastric bypass. In this case, even if pharmacists choose to be on the side of doctors, we are still talking about a procedure in which the patient is unlikely to die if she doesn't get the treatment immediately.

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