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Washington State looks at letting pharmacists discriminate against women

(Pam got to it before I did, but I just must weigh in, since I’m in the Pacific Northwest…)

Washington State is now the latest state to look at giving pharmacists the option of not dispensing prescriptions — specifically emergency contraception, but possibly ANY prescription — that violates the pharmacist’s religious beliefs:

SEATTLE The debate centers around the so-called morning after pill, or Plan B. It’s emergency contraception meant to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Pharmacists who object to Plan B want to be able to deny filling a prescription on moral, ethical or religious beliefs.

“Pharmacists have to have a right to exercise their conscience in these morally troubling situations. I believe it’s a right we get as being citizens of the United States,” says Bellevue pharmacist C.J. Kahler.

“They are really elevating their interests, their personal interests above the needs of the patient,” says Nancy Sapiro with the Northwest Women’s Law Center. “The regulations that govern pharmacists are very clear that patients’ interests come first.”

Governor Christine Gregoire sent the board a letter opposing the proposal.

“When an individual goes in, they ought to be allowed to have their prescription filled and a pharmacist should not deny them on personal grounds,” says Gregoire. “So if they can’t do it, an alternative pharmacist needs to be able to do it at that particular location.”

That’s not always possible in rural towns where there’s only one pharmacist.

“We’re not saying, ‘don’t go anywhere.’ We’re saying, ‘You have a right but we’re not willing to fill that prescription. Here’s where you can go,’ ” says Kahler.

The state pharmacy board says it could be a year before rules are in place.

If you would like to share your opinion with the pharmacy board, you can send it via e-mail to

D’oh dot Washington dot government… how appropriate.

Look, wingnuts, the point is simple: You’re a pharmacist. Your job is to fill prescriptions, not make moral judgements. If filling prescriptions offends you, FIND A NEW JOB.

Why does your religion give you any special exemptions from doing your job? Muslims don’t get to be bartenders who don’t serve alcohol. Quakers don’t get to be cops who don’t shoot people. Vegans don’t get to be waitresses at Hooters who won’t serve chicken wings. Jews don’t get to be waiters at the rib shack who won’t serve pork. Mormons don’t get to be baristas at Starbucks who won’t serve caffeinated coffee.

And don’t give me that “you can find another pharmacist to fill the prescription” crap. A pharmacist’s job is to follow the orders of a doctor. We purposefully separated the doctors from the drugs so they couldn’t abuse their own stash. You are little more than the security guard who loads the piles of cash into the ATM — you don’t get to decide how the ATM customers spend the money, your job is to simply load the money. Likewise, as a pharmacist, your job is to dispense the pills. You don’t get to decide who gets the pills, the doctor and the patient do.

I’m getting mighty sick and tired of “it’s my religion” being the trump card against common sense and civil rights. If you think Plan B pills are immoral, then by all means, don’t use them. If you think dispensing Plan B pills is immoral, then by all means, don’t become a pharmacist.

Seriously, there is no end to how these “conscience clauses” could be interpreted. Could a pharmacist who finds homosexuality “an abomination” refuse to dispense anti-AIDS retrovirals? How about a Catholic pharmacist who refuses to fill any birth control prescription? Sheesh, why not just let the Christian Scientists be the pharmacists who refuse to fill ANY prescription?

This is nothing more than misogynistic anti-sex prudes masquerading as pious victims. They just won’t be happy until everyone else feels as much guilt about sex as they do. They don’t even care whether the woman seeking the prescription is a rape victim; as far as they’re concerned she’s as damnable as what they’d consider the libertine nymphomaniac slut (you know, women who enjoy sex without procreation) who slipped up with her birth control (and just wait; they’re coming after that, too.) In their caveman minds, sex bad, babies good! Any woman who opens her legs must accept the consequences of government-enforced procreation, nevermind the advances in science and chemistry that make that ancient history.

I’m going to go tell my boss that I’ve just joined the church of Linux, and I am morally opposed to installing Microsoft operating systems on the computers here at work. Let’s see how far that gets me. Then I’ll tell the DEA agent who busts me with a pound-and-a-half of marijuana* that I’m Rastafarian. You’ll all write to me in federal prison, won’t you?

Follow the bouncing ball of wingnuts who refuse to do their job at:
Wingnut pharmacists to rape victim: Sorry, we won’t help you.
Boycott Albertsons – Corporate HQ gives OK to deny women’s birth control
A Preserver of Life

* Under Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Law, as a registered caregiver, I am actually legally entitled to carry around a pound-and-a-half of marijuana, and no Oregon state, county, or local officer could arrest me. biggrin.gif The DEA is another matter entirely… sad.gif

[Cross-posted at Radical Writ, because it didn’t offend my moral sensibilities to do so…]

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