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The womb controllers lose in Austin

Put one in the win column for reproductive freedom. Pharmacists whose personal beliefs conflict with doling out birth control must suck it up and dispense. Get into another line of work if you can’t do your job. Eat it, you womb monitors.

Texas’ capital city became the first in the nation Thursday, according to Planned Parenthood, to prohibit a pharmacy from refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, emergency contraceptives and other medications.

The measure, approved unanimously by the Austin City Council, requires Walgreens, the city’s pharmaceutical contractor, to fill prescriptions for patients on Austin’s medical assistance program “in-store, without discrimination or delay,” even if an individual pharmacist declines to fill a prescription based on personal beliefs.

Planned Parenthood hailed the measure as a model for other cities and a strong statement against recent high-profile cases across the country in which pharmacists cited moral objections to filling birth-control prescriptions. “We haven’t heard of any other city to do this,” said Danielle Tierney, regional spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood. “Instead of waiting for a woman in Austin to get denied her prescriptions, we’re putting in this extra layer of protection and taking a positive, proactive approach to the problem. Our hope is that other city councils will look at this and say, ‘What a great idea. We can do this in our community, too.’ “

In the Dallas area, several women have been denied prescriptions, including a rape victim who was refused the “morning after pill” and a North Richland Hills mother of two and first-grade teacher, who was denied her birth-control pills.

…Walgreens’ agreement with Austin, which begins Sept. 1, will affect more than 50,000 people using the city’s health care clinics, including more than 8,000 families who use it for family planning, said Karen Gross, policy director for Austin City Council member Brewster McCracken, who sponsored the provision.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding