Bill Introduced To Forbid Your Pharmacist From Denying You Birth Control

Pharmacists would be forbidden to refuse to dispense birth control based on their religious beliefs under a bill re-introduced to Congress last week. The Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act would punish pharmacists who force women to either find another pharmacy to get their contraceptives — a problem if you live someplace like rural Idaho — or go without their Loestrin entirely. Both of those options are unethical to me. But alas, they happen: many states have what are called “conscience clauses” which protects a pharmacist with, say, evangelical leanings. Under the ABC bill, re-introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, (D-NY), pharmacists are still allowed to say “no” to filling birth control prescriptions but the pharmacy is required to have someone else on staff who will do their job.

This sounds completely reasonable. I personally don’t think a pharmacist should be hired if he or she is going to refuse to fill prescriptions, both from an ethical and a financial standpoint. (You don’t like birth control? Fine, don’t use it yourself.) But since they still are getting hired for jobs, pharmacists who feel this way should have to have backup. Seven states already require by law that all prescriptions are filled. Hopefully the ABC Act will require it by federal law. []

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