3.28.2005

Should Pharmacists' Religious Beliefs Obstruct Access to Medication?

WaPo fronts an article by Rob Stein, "Pharmacists' Rights at Front of New Debate: Because of Beliefs, Some Refuse To Fill Birth Control Prescriptions." Apparently, across the country some pharmacists have decided that their personal religious beliefs have declared birth control a form of abortion, and therefore refuse to dispense it. Some even refuse to transfer the prescription to a pharmacy that will fulfill its obligations.

Here's the thing: I don't go to a faith healer for my medical problems. I expect my medical services to be delivered by people who leave their personal beliefs at the door when they serve me. That's why I dislike going to religious hospitals and why its difficult for me to be unbiased about this issue. As a woman, I abhor the notion that anyone has the right to deny me my reproductive rights.

I experienced the need for the morning after pill when I was unemployed and uninsured. Thankfully, I was living in LA at the time and was able to find a pharmacist in my area who would give me a prescription (thanks to the more women-friendly laws of California, you can get the morning after pill there without a prescription). The pharmacist provided me with plenty of information on the drug. I couldn't imagine needing that medication and being denied by a judgmental pharmacist.

Furthermore, denying birth control is a slap in the face to all women. I can't tell you how amazing it is to have less severe menstrual cramps and less bleeding - two amazing aspects of being on birth control. Those effects have nothing to do with whether or not I'm sexually active. I can't believe people believe they have the right to place their moral judgments on my body and my access to legal medication.

I am saddened by the state of this country. The US Government is not only denying access to reproductive care around the world, we're being denied basic access within our country.

cross-posted from Chicken Foot Stew