Sunday, April 03, 2005

What Would Jesus Prescribe?

An Editorial in the New York Times (Sunday, 3 April 2005) titled "Moralists at the Pharmacy" brings to light the growing number of pharmacists who refuse to fill contraceptive prescriptions on the basis of their personal religious beliefs.
An organization of antiabortion pharmacists is pushing for professional associations and state legislatures to adopt "conscience clauses" recognizing the pharmacist's right to refuse to dispense a drug or even refer the customer to a pharmacist who will; many pharmacy associations have already adopted such clauses. Several states have laws granting pharmacists the right to refuse, and legislators in at least 10 states are pushing similar legislation.
The Planned Parenthood Federation of America has a web page dedicated to the issue of healthcare provider refusals to provide service. Among other things, this page provides data on the current regulatory environment, and on the disturbing cases where hospitals have even refused, on religious grounds, to provide emergency contraception to women who were the victims of sexual assault. For yet another perspective, see the National Women's Law Center's Pharmacy Refusal Project.

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