Just Above Sunset
April 17, 2005 - Loopy Pharmacists for God

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See this item - April 3, 2005: The Rhetoric of the Godly and its Consequences  - where your will find the original news item.  The Washington Post reports this


Some pharmacists across the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and morning-after pills, saying that dispensing the medications violates their personal moral or religious beliefs.

The trend has opened a new front in the nation's battle over reproductive rights, sparking an intense debate over the competing rights of pharmacists to refuse to participate in something they consider repugnant and a woman's right to get medications her doctor has prescribed. It has also triggered pitched political battles in statehouses across the nation as politicians seek to pass laws either to protect pharmacists from being penalized -- or force them to carry out their duties.


Bill Maher has this to say about the matter –


More and more American pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control because of their personal moral objections.  Hey, you know what would really teach us a lesson? If you took off your pretend doctor jacket and got another job.


Or maybe I'm wrong.  Maybe cutting off the pill doesn't even go far enough. Yeah, it's high time activist drugstores stopped coddling sluts on every aisle. Let's not sell any more makeup either -- a good woman doesn't paint herself. And no more deodorant -- you should smell bad, keep the boys from getting ideas.  And no suntan lotion -- I've seen what happens at the MTV Beach House, you whore.  You want to avoid melanoma, buy a veil. …


Now, of course, I know the other side is saying, yes, but this is a moral issue. Yeah, but the problem is, not everyone gets their morals from the same book. You go by the book that says slavery is okay but sex is wrong until after marriage, at which point it becomes a blessed sacrament between a husband and the wife who is withholding it.


In conclusion, let me say to all the activist pharmacists out there -- the ones who think sex is bad probably because sex with them always is -- fellas, a pharmacist is not a law-giver, not even a doctor.  In the medical pecking order, you rank somewhere in between a chiropractor and a tree surgeon. You don't answer to a law above the laws of men.  You work for Sav-On.  The doctors are the ones who make medical decisions because they went to medical school, whereas you were transferred from the counter where people drop off film.


Sarcastic, but amusing.


Last week’s developments?


State birth-control rule challenged

Pharmacists seeking right to deny pill sales
John Chase, Chicago Tribune, April 14, 2005


It seems a state governor issued an emergency ruling that the pharmacists had to fills the damned (yes, a pun) prescriptions in his state – and the folks on the moral right have sued him.


A conservative legal group filed a lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two Downstate pharmacists against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, challenging his emergency rule earlier this month requiring all pharmacists in Illinois to quickly dispense birth control and emergency contraception pills.

The American Center for Law and Justice, a group founded by Pat Robertson, said the order would require the pharmacists to violate their religious beliefs if they are forced to dispense prescriptions for emergency contraception, including the morning-after pill.

The suit, filed on behalf of pharmacists Peggy Pace and John Menges, both of Edwardsville, seeks an injunction on Blagojevich's emergency rule, which requires pharmacies that sell contraceptives to fill such prescriptions promptly. The governor issued the order after a pharmacist at a Loop Osco pharmacy refused to fill two prescriptions for the morning-after pill.


Ah, things are getting loopy in the Loop. 


Well, Blagojevich issued the order on April Fools Day and perhaps they hoped he was kidding.  He wasn’t.


We are told Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said the state would fight the lawsuit.

"We'll fight any attempt to stand in the way of a woman's right to be treated with dignity at the pharmacy counter. If a pharmacy is going to be in a business of stocking and dispensing contraceptives, then they shouldn't be able to make judgments about who should or should not have access to those contraceptives," Ottenhoff said.

The counterargument is that forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions they believe violate their religious principles not only places those pharmacists in a moral dilemma but also violates the so-called conscience clause that allows those in the medical field to avoid performing procedures, most notably abortion, that they find reprehensible. 


The governor and his folks just don’t think that pharmacists are covered by that particular conscience clause.  


But it seems these folks feel they are covered by lots of things – and their lawsuit charges that the rule violates, first, the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and second, the Illinois Human Rights Act and, third, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 


Really?  We will see about that.


Oh, and they also argue that the governor cannot issue an emergency act when there is, well, no emergency.


This should be fun.


Over the last several weeks on one of the HBO secondary feeds one could catch the old movie about the Scopes Trial, Inherit the Wind (Stanley Kramer, 1960) – with Gene Kelley, of all people, playing the role of the character based on H. L. Mencken (really!), and Spencer Tracy trying to be Clarence Darrow.  It’s a hoot!


Should this matter, regarding the moral right of pharmacists to keep these evil pills on the shelves in the back no matter what any doctors says, come to trial in Chicago, well, we could have another fine show.  And maybe, later, a movie.  And now that the Pittsburgh native Gene Kelley has passed away, there may be a part for Bill Maher.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
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