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Austin Cline

Compromise for Pharmacists, Anti-Choice Activists Still Not Happy

By October 17, 2007

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Plan B, Morning After Pills
Plan B, 'Morning After' Pill
Photo: Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Illinois pharmacists are required to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception "without delay," but under a new compromise those pharmacists who object to emergency contraception have a means for not getting involved. In order to ensure that women aren't forced to find a pharmacy where the pharmacist will do their job, an off-site pharmacist can approve the prescription by phone or fax, then another pharmacy employee can physically hand over the unclean pills to the unclean woman.

The government and supporters of a woman's right to make autonomous decisions about her own reproductive cycle support the compromise because it ensures that women will be able to obtain emergency contraception on the same basis as any other medication. Opponents of choice and autonomy, however, are still unhappy they seem to be going along with it because it's the best they'll get, but they are clearly distressed that they won't be able to stand in the doorway and thwart women's access to means of preventing pregnancy.

Francis Manion, who represents the anti-abortion pharmacists, called the settlement "a good step in the right direction." The amended rule recognizes that some pharmacists object to emergency contraception, "but that doesn't mean the woman needs to go to another store" with her prescription, Manion said. ...

Even the objecting pharmacists pronounced it fair, though the agreement didn't go as far as they had hoped.

Melanie Antuma, a pharmacist for CVS/Caremark in Mt. Prospect who was one of the original plaintiffs, said of the settlement: "I'm OK with it. I know they're trying to balance the two interests. But I think they could do better." Antuma said she would have been happier if store owners -- not just employees -- were also given the right to object to dispensing Plan B.

Source: Chicago Tribune

Emergency contraception is easier now for most women to get because it's been made available over the counter and there is no need to wonder if the pharmacist will cause trouble. Not everyone has it easy, though, because girls under 17 still need a prescription as do women who want insurance reimbursement. Conflicts will thus continue between women who have the gall to want to exercise control over their reproductive organs and pharmacists mostly men and all religious, from what I've read who believe that a theoretical fertilized egg has more rights to the body of the woman standing before them than the woman herself.

Personal autonomy, one of the foundations of modern, liberal democracy, is scary to religious authoritarians. They themselves have difficulty imagining living a life without hard, fast rules that constrain all their choices, but what makes them truly dangerous is their unwillingness to allow others to live without those rules as well. Perhaps they don't like being reminded that it's possible.

Comments
October 18, 2007 at 4:35 am
(1) jOY says:

Amen.

October 18, 2007 at 8:29 am
(2) Eric says:

I’ll start taking these people more seriously when they start asking men who want Viagra to show marriage licenses. Working in a pharmacy when dispensing certain drugs is against your religion is like a Vegan working in a slaughterhouse.

October 18, 2007 at 9:27 am
(3) cowalker says:

Wow, what a bunch of elitists these nosy parkers are. Only pharmacists deserve to have conscience clauses? Why is that, because they’re educated and/or make more money?

What about the clerk who has to ring up the purchase. What about HER conscience? Why doesn’t she get to round up a godless clerk who will take the woman’s money? What about the guy who drives the truck that delivers the “morning after” medication? Why can’t he refuse to carry it in HIS truck, and make another driver deliver it? Do the folks who manufacture the medication get to pick and choose and refuse to work on “immoral” chemical compounds? Do the maintenance guys get to find proxies to service the equipment that makes the “bad” medicine, while keeping their jobs?

How ridiculous can you get?

October 19, 2007 at 7:44 pm
(4) Todd Sayre says:

I can’t help but think that this is the Christian equivalent of the eruv.

What kind of omniscient, omnipotent deity gets fooled by these measures?

October 27, 2007 at 2:26 am
(5) Tom T says:

I belong to a religion that prohibits me from using a shovel or spade.

And I work as a ditch digger,

thus I can only complete the part of the job that utilises either a crow-bar or a pick-axe. Under my freedom of religion ‘rights’ I refuse to use a shovel or spade to clear the broken soil.

Can I have a show of hands for those who feel I should be allowed to continue my carreer in ditch digging?

For ***** sake – if you have objections to doing the job – then excercise your religious freedom and get another **** job.

And employers – stop being so ******* mamby pamby and start firing staff that don’t do the job they agreed to when they signed on.

If your religion prohibits you from doing part of the job – then you are not suitable for that job! Period!

Your freedoms permit you to know this in advance and choose a job or carreer that will not interfere with your groveling to an imaginary friend and their fantasy rulebook.

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