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I am so sick of this kind of crap

pharmacy.jpgIn Washington, several pharmacists have sued the state over a regulation which mandates that pharmacies make the morning-after pill available to customers. Their lawsuit claims that this regulation violates their civil rights, because it forces them to choose between their religious/moral beliefs and their professions. This new Washington law says that folks don’t need to personally fill an order for the pill, if they object, as long as there is someone else on staff who can fill the prescription for the patient during the same visit. But since these plaintiffs own their pharmacies, they want more than just being able to avoid personally filling the prescription — they want to be able to prevent their store from having to fill it at all.

Look - I totally get that they may be against the pill on moral and religious grounds. And while I don’t agree with this position, I don’t begrudge them for having it, nor do I mean to suggest that they’re not free to believe in whatever they’d like to believe in. But the hypocrisy here is just infuriating. They don’t want the state’s decisions forced upon them. Yet they seek to force their own decisions and beliefs upon their customers. But because they’re beliefs come from morals and religion, it’s ok in their case, right? Of course, they chose to ignore the that they’re running a pharmacy, not a church or clinic. And when they get permission from the state to sell drugs, presumably that process includes an agreement on their part to provide all legal drugs. And that’s the end of the game.

This is the same BS as the asshat who is suing the Massachusetts bar because he doesn’t support gay marriage, despite it being legal in the state. I just don’t get why the morally and religious righteous always think that they’re above the law. A little help here?

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Comments

I'm afraid I cannot help you understand this bizarre sense of entitlement - they do not have a civil right entitling them to be licensed as pharmacists, anymore than dipshit in MA has a right to a law license. The state has a responsibility to all of its citizens to set high and inflexible standards for those licenses, because this isn't about manners, or not being offended, it's about life and death.

This is what galls me most, though: The state ruled earlier this year that druggists who believe emergency contraceptives are tantamount to abortion cannot stand in the way of a patient's right to the drugs.

Why didn't the state rule that druggists who believe "Plan B" is tantamount to abortion have their licenses revokes, since they obviously don't understand medical science. Every single study of Plan B has shown that it works by preventing ovulation, not by interfering with fertilized eggs. If you don't ovulate, you don't get pregnant in the first place. It's the same as the birth control pill. Plan B is, actually, the single greatest medical step towards PREVENTING abortions - by preventing unwanted pregnancy - to come along since the original pill.

In a perfect world, all sex would be consensual sex, all sexual active people would make considered decisions about birth control, and all pregnancies would be welcomed. In this world, Plan B can at least ensure that victims of rape or incest have far less chance of carrying their attacker's children, and that women who make bad choices about sexual partners don't have life-altering consequences for their mistake.

Pardon the typos, I was ranty.

I wonder what would happen if a Christian Scientist opened up a pharmacy...

Christian scientist is a contradiction of terms.

I am more interested in what these pharmacies would call the staffer that fills the morning-after prescription: Designated Demon Spawn? Pinch Profligate?

You know these same folks that will happily refuse people's access to drugs on moral grounds are the same one's that get pissed about Islamic taxi drivers from refusing to allow alcohol in their cars.

I love it when religion trumps sanity.

"Yet they seek to force their own decisions and beliefs upon their customers."

No, they don't. They're not forcing their decisions and beliefs on anyone else. The customers can just go down the street and buy it from Walgreens. What the pharmacists are doing is the exact opposite of forcing their beliefs on others. They're not lobbying for a change in the law. They just don't want to participate in an action that they think is immoral, while simultaneously not stopping others from doing the action. There's nothing hypocritical about that.

They're essentially conscientious objectors. Remember when there was a draft, and yet Muhammed Ali felt that war was immoral, so he petitioned in court to sit out of the war? He wasn't saying that the draft should be disbanded; he was just saying that he shouldn't be forced to participate in it because it was against his religion. There's nothing hypocritical about that.

Another example: A grocery store in my area used to sell alcohol. Then a family member of one of the store's founders was killed by a drunk driver. So the founder decided that his stores wouldn't sell alcoholic beverages anymore. So is he forcing his teetotalling beliefs on me?

Fuck no. Because I can just get my discount vodka and Schlitz malt liquor from the liquor store on the next block.

The problem with pharmacists being allowed to make the decision of whether or not they fill a prescription for birth control or the morning after pill is that in some places there are no multiple pharmacies available for people to choose from. Also when a woman is seeking the morning after pill if she is told by one pharmacist he won't give it to her because he feels it's immoral, she may feel so ashamed she won't get it all.

So what is worse to them? The morning after pill preventing an unwanted pregnancy, or forcing women to later seek out an abortion? Added to this is that what prevents a pharmacist from not carrying any form of birth control? Funny, you don't hear any complaints from pharmacists over Viagra. Is that normal for an old man to get a three hour erection? Maybe it's god's will that grandpa can't get it up?

Oh Diablo, thank you thank you thank you. I have wondered the exact same thing, plus this: would they refuse to fill a prescription for Viagra to a man they knew to be single?

The Comish: There are some serious flaws in your alternate examples. Unlike the draft, becoming a pharmacist is not compulsory. It would be much more akin to joining the Army and deciding you refuse to fight in that particular war. Also, it's not like the pharmacies are ceasing to sell all drugs, like your alcohol example, even then there's a break down. Alcohol isn't a medical necessity and there is no time limit on how quickly people need to get vodka to be effective.

Other posters got it right, time is of the essence when it comes to getting the morning after pill. Maybe the customer doesn't have a car to go to another pharmacy 15 miles away, or she goes to the pharmacy on her lunch break and all others will be closed after work. The pharmacy's refusal to sell her the medication can prevent her getting it in time to do any good. If a pharmacy refused to sell insulin for "moral reasons" there would be a huge backlash. It is absurd they can pick and choose in this one area.

If pharmacists aren't going to fill all prescriptions, they shouldn't be licensed. If a person can't handle that, there are many other fine occupational fields to go in to.

The problem with religion, the Catholic Church in particular, is that it can’t sit in the back room like cousin Lenny when the new neighbours come over for dinner. It’s more like your brother-in-law Stan who has to get in everyone’s face and tell you what he thinks of every little thing. I guess what I’m saying is that it should be a belief system instead of an institution.
Within the next hundred years we’re going to get another apology from the Catholic Church. “We’re sorry we said homosexuals were an abomination even though the bible says to love thy neighbour.” I guess he meant, just not that neighbour. “We’re sorry the only birth control option we gave women was to abstain from sex or have unwanted children, we realize our error considering the population has ballooned to 18 billion people.” Although I don’t think the pope will use the word ballooned. “We’re sorry we did nothing when our followers were killing abortion doctors in the name of unborn children’s lives.” The Catholic Church in particular is built on hypocrisy. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised if its followers don’t know when to be a Stan or a Lenny.

Every single study of Plan B has shown that it works by preventing ovulation, not by interfering with fertilized eggs.

Not quite. From the Plan B Web site (www.go2planb.com): "Plan B® may also work by preventing [the fertilized egg] from attaching to the uterus (womb)."

"May also work" (it may also contain a pork pie)- they have to say this, because they cannot prove absolutely that that never happens. Medical science is not absolute - cigarette companies exploited that lack of absolute certainty for years. It depends whether you are going to be swayed by the bulk of the evidence, or cling to the tiny uncertainty to bolster your own position. Plan B suppresses the hormones that trigger ovulation - no ovulation, no pregnancy. A good overview of how it works can be found here:

http://www.scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2006/04/why_the_wingnuts_hate_plan_b.php

@ Comish: Actually, the pharmacist IS forcing his beliefs on others. Perhaps his customers could go down the street to another pharmacy, but what about the pro-choice pharmacists who work in his store? Should they be forced to choose between their jobs and their beliefs? If they see no problem in giving medicine to a person, why should they be told they can't because their boss doesn't like it?

The Viagra comparison is very good. The Bible says you can't have sex out of marriage, so do they ask for marriage licenses before filling every sex pill prescription? Would they also refuse to give hormones to a sex-change recipient? You can't pick and choose whose medicines you want to fill just because you disagree with their lifestyle. What's the medical phrase, "first do no harm"? Not giving a rape victim the Plan B pill, in some situations, COULD cause serious harm to her life and health.

Personally, I'm looking forward to the Jehovah's Witness doctor who sues so he doesn't have to perform blood transfusions.

Having worked with pharmacists, I can tell you with some amount of confidence that this has nothing to do with moral standards. Pharmacists believe that they are doctors. They have been lied to and coddled by big pharma because once the doctors are out of the picture, pharmacies can sell all the drugs they want regardless of whether you are sick: this is all about the bottom line. Pharmacists believe that they know everything there is to know about medications and their effects on your body. This little battle about "Plan B" is very significant as it opens the door to a larger argument: should pharmacists be able to control drugs. If the answer is yes, then the pharmacist should be able to control ALL drugs, including your prescriptions. What does this mean? It means that a person who has never received any kind of medical training or internship can diagnose and prescribe drugs to you. A person with a bachelor's degree in science can give you heart medication.

Please remember that pharmacists (or chemists as they were once called) were the jolly shop owners who made milkshakes and sold your mother ovaltine. If you look further back, they were the witch doctors who cooked up potions and herbal remedies. Doctors were the ones who made drugs and gave them to you. It is only in the last few decades have outspoken (and mostly) badly-educated pharmacists come sliding from the woodwork with these absurd claims of propriety over a woman's right to choose.

You have a right to question this, you have a right to be angry. Pharmacists are not doctors, they are scientists. Medicine is an art that requires years of training and practice - not 5 years at state. Pharmacists such as the one in this article, among others, need to "shut their mouths and know their roles".

Thank you, Edith, for posting everything I was about to, but with fewer swears.

I once found myself in the rather uncomfortable position of having to lug my butt to the local pharmacy to retrieve a prescription for the morning after pill.

Man, I didn't want to be there. I was embarassed and a total ball of anxiety - I had taken it once before in my teens with near-disasterous results (really, how long can one person spend sitting in front of a toilet?) but away I went, my boyfriend in tow.

The pharmacist, a pleasant looking young woman, came to the desk and politely greeted my boyfriend and I and asked what she could do for me. I told her I was picking up a prescription for the morning after pill, and that's when her demeanour did a complete 180 degree shift. Her jaw set. Her teeth clenched. Her back went stiff as a board, and when she huffily clumped her way to the back of the pharmacy to retrive the accursed pills I heard her banging things around.

When she returned she threw the package on the desk in front of me, looked me straight in the eye and began lecturing me - yes, lecturing me - on the importance of safe sex. My sex life was clearly none of her business, but I was being challanged by this officious little twit who knew nothing of the circumstances that led me to her in the first place. So I said, "Not that it's any of your business, but I was practising safe sex. The condom broke. Do you have a problem with somebody trying to be responsible in the wake of an accident?" She said not one word and, as if she hadn't heard a thing I had just said, icily informed me that the morning after pill is to be used for emergencies only, not as a fallback, and I ought to put more thought into my sexual practices. I grabbed the bag and ran from the store, my stomach absoloutely churning, and sobbed the entire way home. My boyfriend was furious, but I asked him to drop the matter. I felt crappy enough as it was.

All this to say that while I fully recognize that pharmacists have the right(?) to refuse to serve a customer in such circumstances due to their own moral objections (although I do not agree with that position at all), they do NOT have the right to refuse service, period, or angrily lecture those customers who enter their business seeking necessary medical services.

thank you to the many people who've said exactly what i was thinking: namely that this is an insane misuse of one's occupation, an illogical waste of time and a blatant example of the religious erotophobes anti-American war on freedom and personal choice.

Well, seems to me its like the muslim taxi drivers who refused to drive people who had wine or something. http://www.acage.org/news/?day=05272007&id=0001