New "Pro-Life" Pharmacies Won't Sell You Birth Control

Putting their own beliefs ahead their customers’, the DMC Pharmacy, scheduled to open in Chantilly, VA., is among a growing number of “pro-life” pharmacies that will not sell any form of contraception. According to the Washington Post, the pharmacy, an expansion of Divine Mercy Care, asserts a “right of conscience” which means they won’t provide any services or products that they find objectionable. Details, inside…

The article says,

The most common, widely publicized conflicts have involved pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control pills, morning-after pills and other forms of contraception. They say they believe that such methods can cause what amounts to an abortion and that the contraceptives promote promiscuity, divorce, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and other societal woes. The result has been confrontations that have left women traumatized and resulted in pharmacists being fired, fined or reprimanded.

In response, some pharmacists have stopped carrying the products or have opened pharmacies that do not stock any.

“This allows a pharmacist who does not wish to be involved in stopping a human life in any way to practice in a way that feels comfortable,” said Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life International, which promotes a pharmacist’s right to refuse to fill such prescriptions. The group’s Web site lists seven pharmacies around the country that have signed a pledge to follow “pro-life” guidelines, but Brauer said there are many others.

“It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “And there’s new ones happening all the time.”

Virginia does not have any laws or regulations that would prohibit a pro-life pharmacy, and is not considering adopting any, according to the Virginia Board of Pharmacy.

Critics also worry that women might unsuspectingly seek contraceptives at such a store and be humiliated, or that women needing the morning-after pill, which is most effective when used quickly, may waste precious time.

“Rape victims could end up in a pharmacy not understanding this pharmacy will not meet their needs,” said Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center. “We’ve seen an alarming development of pharmacists over the last several years refusing to fill prescriptions, and sometimes even taking the prescription from the woman and refusing to give it back to her so she can fill it in another pharmacy.”

Everyone has their own personal beliefs regarding human reproduction. However, when it is your job to provide health services to the public, we don’t understand how those beliefs are more important than the customers’.

‘Pro-Life’ Drugstores Market Beliefs [Washington Post]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. dialing_wand says:

    Perhaps the choice, without making a fuss, would be to avoid giving such establishments your business.

    Who needs regulation when we can vote with our wallets?

  2. nsv says:

    If you can’t do your job, find a job you can do.

  3. Kali Mama says:

    Because the women most in need of that contraception have little money and no access to another pharmacy in the near vicinity? There are lots of these operations, especially in rural areas where girls have to cross state lines to get to another one. There are also fake Planned parenthood like operations, where they will stall you until your legal limit for abortion has passed.

  4. Although I don’t agree with their beliefs, I do believe that they have the right to sell what they want, to who they want.

    I, for one, will never purchase anything from any of those stores; and I’d imagine that other people who share the same reproductive choice beliefs won’t either.

  5. amyschiff says:

    This is ridiculous… a few of my friends, one who is totally pro-life, HAVE TO take birth control to regulate their bodies. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be able to have kids at all. Refusing to sell birth control because you are pro-life is pretty short-sighted.

  6. kborer22 says:


    agreed, how could your job to provide health care to people and refuse it?! So are they also refusing to fill perscriptions for people that have herepes or aids? How can you pick and choose who you help and who you don’t?

  7. floofy3223 says:

    I wonder if they fill prescriptions for Viagra.

  8. raleel says:

    Accuracy in labeling probably is called for. If they are pro-life, fine. They have that right to not sell everything. But I don’t have to shop there, and it should be clear that they don’t provide these services.

  9. beavis88 says:

    These people should have their license to practice as pharmacists revoked, immediately.

  10. PHX602 says:

    Ah, stores with an agenda.

  11. ClayS says:

    Absolutely right, my wife is a pharmacist and it unfathomable that someone in that profession could refuse to dispense birth control. First, as you said, these drugs are often used to regulate cycles, etc. Also, huge numbers of abortions are prevented by the use of birth control.

    Just because a drug could be misused to precipitate an abortion, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be dispensed. There are many drugs can and are used to commit suicide…are these same pharmacists refusing to provide them on the off chance they may be misused?

  12. parabola101 says:

    I agree with beavis88!! This is just fundamentally WRONG…

    what next, they wont sell you drugs made from stem cells??

  13. guilliam says:

    They don’t want people to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancies, so are they going to support the unwanted babies when they are born?

    I for one will take my business elsewhere.

  14. Nytmare says:

    I wonder if their aisle of magic herbal cures will be particularly well-stocked.

  15. Metropolis says:

    Their job isn’t to provide health care for people. Thats your GPs job. Their job is to middle man pharmacueticals. THey have all the right in world to choose what they want to sell and what won’t sell. I don’t aggree with their pro-life stance but thats my belief as what they are doing is theres. If you dont like how they do buisness go elsewhere.

  16. ARP says:

    href=”#c6330608″>kborer22: Agreed, if we let cops or firefighters only help those who they “morally” agree with, we have some trouble. And, to the “just go to another pharmacy” crowd- just wait for a another cop or firefighter to come.

    Since many don’t believe in evolution or stem cell reasearch, they shouldn’t stock a number of drugs. For example, they shouldn’t certain antibiotics since there’s no such thing as antibiotic-resistant strains because bacteria can’t become antibiotic resistant.

  17. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Pregnancy is a health matter. As such, medical providers must address it. Imagine, for example, if you went to the pharmacy for high blood pressure, and he refused to sell you your prescribed medication because he was a vegetarian and believed that your meat-eating caused your cholesterol problems.

    I agree that anyone may open a store and run it his way. But a pharmacists’ license is currently awarded based on the assumption that the pharmacist will consistently dispense on a doctor’s prescription. If they fail to do this, they break the contract upon which their license stands, and their license is null by their own action. Revocation merely verifies the breakage initiated by the pharmacist who thinks he can do whatever he wants. He’s just like a cop who thinks his badge gives him freedom to break the law.

    If these people want to run drug stores, fine. But if they want to fail to dispense, yet remain in the pharmacy business, they are in essence practicing unlicensed.

  18. Meshuggina says:

    If a pharmacist thinks that a certain medication is used to facilitate things that are considered immoral, they should not be forced to sell it. The consumer has to take responsibility and not shop at the establishments if they’re offended by the decision.

    The last thing we need is the government mandating what individual’s have to sell at their own businesses.

  19. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @speedwell: And, additionally, they ought to be required to post a prominent notice, ideally in the front window, that they are non-dispensers.

  20. The_IT_Crone says:

    This kind of thing makes me sick. I do not believe that just “voting with your wallets” is good enough. What if an emergency room refuses to save your life because they don’t like your skin color? Do we just say, “we’ll vote with our wallet and not go there anymore?” That’ll fix everything!

    This is a HEALTH ISSUE- not a greeting card store. Many women take birth control for severe health issues, and as amyschiff pointed out, often so that they CAN someday procreate. NO ONE has the right to say “oh, we’re not going to treat your painful and potentially life-threatening condition because some women use it for family planning.”

    I think places that refuse a basic and common medical care based on discrimination of any kind should be shut down.

  21. nsv says:

    @floofy3223: You’d better believe that they sell Viagra. Which puts women in an even more awkward situation. “Yes honey, I know you just took that little blue pill, but I couldn’t get any contraceptive.”

  22. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @Meshuggina: They’re not being forced to sell it. They agreed to sell it when they applied and received their license on the terms that they would dispense what a doctor ordered them to dispense. If they do not want to uphold the terms of their license, they have broken it.

  23. Meshuggina says:

    @ARP: Firefighters and police officers are government positions. They don’t get to decide who to help.

  24. Nogard13 says:

    I think they should have the right to sell whatever they want to sell. If they don’t want to sell anything related to birth control, fine. If you find this objectionable, then don’t shop here.

    On another note, when I was going thru my wedding preparation with my wife, we had to sit down with a priest and discuss birth control (which the Catholic Church is completely against). My wife has taken BC pills for 15 years to regulate her hormones and the priest had the nerve to tell her that she needs to find some other way to regulate her hormones that doesn’t impede “God’s plan” for reproduction! Of course I had to comment on this. I asked him if he believed God was All Powerful. Of course he said yes, to which I added, “well, if God is all powerful, then I doubt a pill will thwart his plan for reproduction. I mean, if it is his plan, he’ll just override the pill, right?”

    ’nuff said

  25. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Sorry, closing bold tag.

  26. theformatter says:

    Previous commentators: Your bias is showing. There is nothing in any local, state or federal law that states pharmacies can be forced to sell any particular product. It is entirely up to the owner as to what products will be provided to the public. God help us if government meddling ever expands to that level.

    Don’t get me wrong, my daughter requires birth control pills to regulate her system properly so I understand that sometimes these products are necessary.

    As far as the person who brings up ‘rural areas’, they have obviously never BEEN in a rural area – if you lived in a small town, the local pharmacist would probably be more than willing to provide whatever medication is REQUIRED (my emphasis) to their regular customers. As for the 70% of the US that lives in urban or suburban areas, there’s plenty of other pharmacists within walking distance for those few citizens who still walk.

    But I respect the stand of these stores. As a business owner, I have the right to control what products I sell and have refused to carry a vendor’s inferior products that I don’t think are compatibly with my clientele’s expectation. MY CHOICE, please don’t come storming my doors saying that the government needs to regulate my bias against cheap crap.

  27. nsv says:

    @Meshuggina: I’m a firefighter, and I know guys who think that cramming large families into small apartments is immoral. Does that mean they have the right to let those families burn to death because they don’t approve?

    Pharmacists have doctorates (pharmD.) While they couldn’t walk into an emergency room and take over if the ER doc collapsed, they do provide health care. If they disapprove of their job responsibilities, maybe they should quit their job as a health care provider and open an adoption agency.

  28. Meshuggina says:

    @speedwell: There is no requirement that requires pharmacists to prescribe what a doctor says. Quite to the contrary, I would imagine pharmacists are trained to second-guess prescriptions that could harm consumers.

  29. The_IT_Crone says:

    @speedwell: AGREED! Letting people know what’s going on should be a requirement. I’m sure a lot of people would be in the dark about their horrible “policy,” particularly if they do not need that type of MEDICATION (yes, not a candy bar).

    I still can’t wrap my head around the people that think a pharmacy is a simple goods store. This is about HEALTH, not commercial goods.

    If a store refuses to sell me alcohol because it’s against their religion, I’ll just find another store. However PRESCRIPTIONS, which have been deemed necessary by a DOCTOR, should not be refused by anyone.

  30. nsv says:

    @Nogard13: How does a woman go to another pharmacy where they will sell her what the doctor prescribed if the disapproving pharmacist has taken her prescription and refuses to give it back?

  31. battra92 says:

    If they don’t want to sell it, it’s a free country. I think that while many feel that this pharmacy is infringing on their rights or promoting an agenda should stop for a moment and realize that they want to force the Rx to adhere to their beliefs.

    I live in a small town with less people in it than a New York City block and we have six pharmacies. This is a non-issue.

    @Meshuggina: The last thing we need is the government mandating what individual’s have to sell at their own businesses.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. In an ironic twist of words, it’s about REAL choice here (not the pro-abortion crowd definition) but choice as to whether or not to support it.

  32. bohemian says:

    The additional problem is that these places are not clearly stating who they are. So people who disagree with their religious hijacking of other people’s health care don’t know they do this and give these places their business. If these places were forced to clearly state who they are THEN consumers could make informed decisions.

    These places generally don’t want to actually advertise that they refuse to fill contraception prescriptions because they know it will lose them some business. They want to have it both ways and that makes me just as mad as what they are actually doing. They should be forced to have a standardized prominent sign on the front door. I want to know so I can take my business elsewhere. That goes for places that have one pharmacist in their team that refuses to dispense contraception.

    The real problem comes when it is one pharmacy in a small rural area.

    We have two hospital groups that operate almost all of the hospitals and clinics in the entire state of SD. One is a Catholic hospital that recently mandated that no doctor in their employ can dispense contraception of any kind to any one. They can’t even do physical sterilization (vasectomy or tubal ligation). It probably isn’t a big deal having a Catholic hospital this strict in a big metro area where you have plenty of other options when you have limited options it becomes a real problem for people or for people who don’t want to give places like this more money.

  33. Mr_D says:

    @dialing_wand: The problem, as noted in the article, is that there’s no way to tell up-front if a pharmacy will or will not dispense birth control, wasting time. Which is important for something called the “morning after” pill.

    Furthermore, also noted in the article, is that some pharmacists will confiscate your perscription so you can’t get it filled elsewhere.

    This is exactly what legislation is for: to prevent one party from abusing another.

  34. CaptainConsumer says:

    They are free to roll out whatever business model they choose HOWEVER, a pharmacist working in one of these places should have a special asterisk next to their name on a state file as a pharmacist who won’t FULLY do the job a regular pharmacist will.

    Maybe a kind of Pharmacist-accreditation-LITE

  35. dragonvpm says:

    While I would be perfectly happy to simply vote w/ my wallet against these scumbags, I also happen to think that as licensed members of the medical establishment, they should be obligated to either carry or facilitate acquiring prescribed medicine like BC. Furthermore they should be obligated to provide current, MEDICALLY CORRECT information when people come in to their stores. They can believe whatever they want, but they should only be able to dispense scientifically valid information.

    I’d be particularly concerned that these quacks would give kids incorrect information about BC (e.g. abstinence only, pulling out, rhythm methods etc…) and help increase the local rates of pregnancy and STDs (especially depending on how much competition they have). In this day and age you’d think that people (especially licensed medical professionals like pharmacists) would realize that removing BC from the equation makes things worse, never better.

  36. trogam says:

    I think i know excatlly where they are going to be putting this store, and quite frankly…I am willing to bet that it is going to go out of business. The stores back there get very little foot traffic. Also, if you want a drugstore, there is a CVS about 10 minutes down the road (I know many of you wouldn’t go near it, but there is another drugstore nearby) and this one is open 24 hours a day. I think I am going to go and check this place out when it opens…just for fun!

  37. ClayS says:

    I didn’t the law requires pharmacists to dispense all meds. Also, there are doctors that refuse to do abortions.

    My belief is that medical professionals should do what is in their patients’ best interests, putting aside some of their own religious beliefs in favor of the patient’s sense of morality.

  38. prag says:

    OMG. Restricting access to condoms promotes disease. Who the heck would shop at a PHARMACY that promotes disease? Ridiculous. Is it too late to add a new bracket to the worst company contest?

  39. I do not think it is a fair comparison between preventative planned birth control (whether taken for birth control or menses regulation) and life-dependent emergency services such as ERs and cops/firefighters acting in emergency response.

  40. consumersaur says:

    Pharmacists are just pill distributors and seem essentially worthless to me. They just count out the amount of whatever the doctor ordered and pour from one big jar into a smaller jar and collect a check. This type of activism should result in their licenses being voided. They are there to give you what a doctor prescribed.

    “Sorry, I have a moral objection to what Phizer is doing with its interests in Indonesia, so I substituted your drug with something else…”

  41. Meshuggina says:

    @nsv: If you’re a firefighter employed by a government entity, you’re absolutely required to save individuals that you think are “immoral” as a condition of your employment. You relinquished your right to decide who to save when you became a government employee.

    However, if you where a private firefighter-for-hire, you should not be required to do business with people you don’t want to do business for. As a self-employed individual or business owner, you set forth the terms and conditions of your employment.

  42. battra92 says:

    @nsv: There are these things called telephones that you can use to dial the Doctor. Amazing things these telephones that this brilliant Scotsman named Bell invented. I hear they even have a dial on them now so you don’t have to call the operator and ask for Central 2 4 8.

  43. dragonvpm says:

    @Meshuggina & battra92: So by that logic stores should be allowed to sell expired food, untested medication, unsafe children’s toys, and vehicles that don’t meet the minimum US safety ratings.

    Come on people, the government already does a lot to protect the general public from unscrupulous business practices that often times wouldn’t hurt the business because they can mislead and lie about what they’re doing. Why do you think these pharmacies will be any different?

    By that logic, would it be ok for a hospital ER to refuse to treat a single woman who was pregnant because they believed you should only have sex in marriage? Should they be allowed to refuse to treat a minority because they believe that non-Caucasians are sub-human? People can BELIEVE whatever the hell they want, but in a commercial setting they should only be allowed to exercise those beliefs up to the point where they harm someone else and a pharmacist refusing to dispense medically prescribed medicine (e.g. BC) is causing harm and they shouldn’t be allowed to inflict their voodoo on the general public.

  44. purell54 says:

    I think this is a type of niche marketing, there are plenty of pro lifers who would glady shop at a pharmacy who’s values are in line with theirs regarding this issue.

  45. battra92 says:

    @heavylee-again: I agree. This isn’t life or death here.

  46. consumersaur says:

    And isn’t the point of a license to prove that everyone holding one agrees to certain terms, has specific skill sets and is allowed to do something dangerous given they make concessions, etc.?

    Give me a driver’s license, but just so you know — I don’t yield for ambulances.

    I’m an attorney but this bar number doesn’t mean anything…

  47. bohemian says:

    @theformatter: “As far as the person who brings up ‘rural areas’, they have obviously never BEEN in a rural area – if you lived in a small town, the local pharmacist would probably be more than willing to provide whatever medication is REQUIRED (my emphasis) to their regular customers.”

    Really? You need to go to a few more rural areas. There are some insane religious zealots out here that think the earth is 6000 years old, flat and Adam & Eve rode dinosaurs. There are plenty of these people working as doctors and pharmacists and it is a very real problem made even worse in the smaller towns where options are easily 1-4 hours away.
    I live in the largest city in the state and ended up making a blacklist of doctors in town that are religious loons and have made it known publicly so I can make sure nobody in our family inadvertently gets referred or scheduled with one of these people.

  48. @consumersaur: Pharmacists are just pill distributors and seem essentially worthless to me. They just count out the amount of whatever the doctor ordered and pour from one big jar into a smaller jar and collect a check. This type of activism should result in their licenses being voided. They are there to give you what a doctor prescribed.

    Quite off-base. Pharmacists also are depended upon to know what each medication does and know what potential interactions may occur with any other medication a patient is taking which was purchased at that pharmacy. The pill-counting and moving pills from a big jar to a smaller jar is done by pharmacy techs.

  49. Nogard13 says:


    Nobody said anything about taking the prescription away. If that’s the case, then a simple call to your doctor should be all that’s necessary. BC pills aren’t life or death medications. Even if you’re trying to fill your pills on a Sunday morning, when your Dr. is out for the weekend, you could still wait until Monday and skip a day or two of the pills without causing any damage to yourself.

  50. Wow, some very good points here (yay!).

    This practice disturbs me immensely. For one thing, it’s deeply flawed as a moral position — for reasons others have pointed out, but none so eloquently as the Man George Carlin, RIP, says it here:

    And I don’t think “voting by wallet” is enough. For one thing, do YOU know where these places are? Were you aware that many, but not all, Wal-Marts are like this? Can you point to which pharmacies in your area are engaged in this disgusting and idiotic practice?

    Prescriptions aren’t all, either — Plan B is approved for over-the-counter dispensing, but a TON of pharmacies are placing their own restrictions on getting it, or refusing to carry it altogether.

    I think the very least that ought to be done is to label these places, very publicly, as discriminating against women under the guise of “morality” (the same guise that was once used to forbid interracial marriages; it’s hardly an ironclad defense!).

    There are a few lists of offending pharmacies online, but none as comprehensive as I’d like. And they don’t really get the word out, anyway. I wonder what it would take–?

    Thanks for the great comments, ya’ll. I’ll confess I was worried at first! ;)

  51. dragonvpm says:

    @battra92: So it’s ok to hurt someone so long as it’s not life and death?

    I know some folks who take BC largely to control and largely minimize very painful (i.e. debilitating) periods. It’s ok to deny them doctor prescribed medication based on some random BELIEF even if it causes them a great deal of pain because it’s not actively life threatening?

    I’m sorry, but that’s absurd. No one’s BELIEFS should trump another person’s health and well being.

  52. battra92 says:

    @dragonvpm: Look, I know you have an agenda here but you’re really stretching your arguments. This is about a choice of the Pharmacist of what pills to carry and what not to carry.

    Birth control pills are not, in most cases, a medical necessity. They are there so girls can have sex and not have a baby.

    By the way, last I checked abstinence is an effective form of birth control. Except for that one woman about 2000 years ago.

  53. bohemian says:

    Reading all of these comments I would be all for making all drugs over the counter with the exception of narcotics. I have had so many utterly inept pharmacists that operated as nothing more than pill counters. Don’t even get me started on some of the pharmacy techs. The obstacle course of inept, over worked and religious obsessed pharmacy staff seems like more of a danger to one’s health than the drugs.

  54. Meshuggina says:

    @dragonvpm: The reality is: not selling contraception isn’t going to kill anyone; it’s just an inconvenience. You can simply go to another location to get your birth-control.

    It’s not on par with selling faulty breaks that are going to send you careening toward on-coming traffic. I’m not exactly sure how one can draw that parallel. One causes you to go down the street to another pharmacy, the other causes you to die.

  55. (Okay, some crappy stupid comments snuck in while I was writing that, so now I feel I should add:)

    This is DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN. It is therefore not protected behavior that falls under “my business, my choice”. You are not allowed to refuse to sell some products to people of races that you don’t “believe” should be permitted to have them, and you are not allowed to stick your fat nose in on a woman’s decisions regarding her own reproduction.


    Stop acting like discriminating based on your personal beliefs is a “right”; you’re making yourself sound like a freaking neanderthal.


  56. LINIS says:

    1. Pharmacies should have the right to not sell anything that they so choose. That being said, it should be well publicized that said pharmacy does not sell BC or whatever medication so that people don’t waste their time trying to fill a prescription there.

    2. This thing about pharmacists taking prescriptions then refusing to give the prescription back to the customer due to personal beliefs is ridiculous. Any pharmacist caught doing so should be criminally prosecuted and have their pharmacist’s license revoked.

  57. trturnerjr says:

    I did a story about what appears to be a growing problem a few months ago because of legislation that would allow pharmacists the right to opt out of filling these type of prescriptions in Indiana.
    According to our conservative lawmakers it was to give pharmacists the same rights as doctors, who can refuse to give an abortion.
    Our law required pharmacies to find a way to get the prescription filled, but the individual pharmacist could opt out.
    I think the law is ridiculous, but maybe similar legislation would actually protect consumers.

  58. @dragonvpm: No-one’s beliefs should trump another person’s right to decide if and when they have children, either. Even completely ignoring the people who take this medication for reasons other than family planning, family planning is a protected right, upheld by many years of case and statutory law, and no amount of dark-ages religious heebies gives people the right to interfere in it.

  59. @battra92: And last I checked, someone else’s sex life was none of your gods-damned business. Natch.

  60. SpecialEd says:

    The simple solution is to not allow them to call themselves pharmacies if they will not provide normal, reasonable services.

  61. battra92 says:

    @bohemian: Prejudice much?

    @dragonvpm: I’m sorry, but that’s absurd. No one’s BELIEFS should trump another person’s health and well being.

    See, now I could go somewhere with that but it’s 9AM on Monday and I don’t feel like starting an even bigger argument.

    A 10 second Google search shows that Divine Mercy Care is a Marianism (Catholic) organization. Is this any surprise given the positions Rome has taken for the last 1700 years?

    Dislaimer: I’m not Catholic nor am I in any way a supporter of Catholicism but I am a Christian and a free market advocate and think that businesses should not be forced to sell products that they don’t feel comfortable in selling.

    Seriously, just go to the 9 billion other pharmacies.

  62. rockergal says:

    @Meshuggina: odd, the government is allowed to dictate if an owner of a store/bar/club etc is allowed to smoke in their own establishments.

  63. @speedwell: Agreed, except the notice should be an approved one provided by the state board, not one that allows the pharmacy to send out an additional propaganda message.

    Seriously, pharmacists who refuse to do their jobs should be encouraged to look for other work instead of bothering people with their silly superstitious nonsense.

  64. dragonvpm says:

    @battra92: I don’t have an agenda, but I do think the “wah let the poor pharmacists exercise their choice” is stupid and offensive. Apparently their BELIEF trumps everything, they can say and do whatever they want because they BELIEVE something and they aren’t even obligated to preface that by clearly stating that they’re dispensing their opinions, not medically sound advice.

    Birth control pills are not, in most cases, a medical necessity. They are there so girls can have sex and not have a baby.

    Ok, prove it. Show me stats, show me some research on that. I don’t have the data so if you can come up with some I’ll be willing to believe you, but I do know quite a few women who rely on BC to regulate extrmely difficult and painful periods and I’d be very upset if a phamarmacist-quack decided to deny them BC because he knew better than her OR her doctor what was good for her.

    Abstinence is not the only form of BC and in places (e.g. in the third world) where CHRISTIAN churches have undertaken advertising campaigns to claim that condoms and BC don’t work, guess what happens? People stop using them, birth rates go up, abortions go up, STD rates go up, DEATH rates go up. That sounds just like what that fellow 2000 years ago wanted, yup.

  65. dragonvpm says:

    @battra92: Um, yeah, that was my point…

  66. dragonvpm says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: Agreed, but from the sounds of it, a lot of people think that the pharmacists beliefs carry a lot more weight than a doctor’s professional opinion, a private person’s decision, etc… all on the misconception that it’s easy to find another pharmacy anywhere.

    Aside from the fact that this isn’t always true, it also sets up a situation where a small town pharmacy can decide to follow in their footsteps (or perhaps get pressured to do so by the local holier-than-thous) and then you end up with more and more pharmacies where you can’t always get what’s been prescribed to you because someone else BELIEVES that they know better than you or your doctor.

  67. morganlh85 says:

    Do they carry Viagra? I’m willing to bet THAT contributes to a lot of promiscuity as well…:rolleyes:

  68. CaptainConsumer says:

    Sorry, we won’t provide those pills for you, the invisible man in the sky told us it was wrong.

  69. Xerloq says:

    Regardless of their beliefs, they don’t have to sell or stock anything they don’t want to. There are other stores to obtain birth control – go there.

    I’ll be buying my birth control elsewhere.

    I absolutely hate it when people believe their rights are being infringed upon and feel that others should be forced to give up theirs to be accommodated. Why should the pharmacists give up their rights/beliefs simply to accommodate you, especially when you have other places you can shop? Why should these pharmacists be tolerant of your beliefs when you refuse to tolerate theirs?

  70. cef21 says:

    @dragonvpm: Who’s talking about denying them birth control? There’s a big difference between “I won’t sell this to you” and “you can’t get this at all.” Would you also object to bookstores that decide not to sell Playboy?

    One of the great things about a free market is that if you don’t like how a company does business, you can take your business elsewhere. Nobody’s forcing anybody to go to one of these pharmacies. This “it’s the only pharmacy around for hundreds of miles in my rural area” is garbage — Walgreens and CVS will MAIL your prescription to you.

  71. Cruc says:

    There are doctors who don’t do abortions too-should they be forced to?

    I think not.

    As long as it’s known up front, I don’t see the problem and there are tons of pharmacies all over the place where this is (and everywhere else for that matter).

    (Now if we’re talking about things like Muslim cab drivers refusing to pick up women who aren’t covered or folks with groceries that include alchohol and the like, I’m all over that.)


  72. Tux the Penguin says:

    @The_IT_Crone: First, comparing a business not wishing to carry a production and a visit to an ER where they don’t treat you due to your skin color are two different ends of the spectrum. I’ll start with the latter and work my way back to the topic.

    First, if you show up at an ER and they refuse treatment, your family is about to be very rich. First, they can’t refuse treatment, period. And then if it comes down to they didn’t because of your skin, you should simply have your family start deciding whose name is going to be on what wing of the hospital. Hospitals and ERs are regulated not only by their professions (licensed, etc) but also by the state, local and federal governments. There are so many laws covering this that its not funny.

    Compare that to a pharmacy. What does a pharmacy do? Sell restricted items. That’s it. If you want a more apt comparison, compare it to a gun shop or a sex toy store. The drugs that a pharmacy sells are treated just the same as any other controlled inventory.

    As for it being a health issue, I agree that this is bad PR, but there is nothing illegal about this stance. They have decided that they do not want to carry a particular stock item. It all comes down to that.

    As for your final statement, you do realize the very fact that prescription drugs are controlled is a form of discrimination, right? You refuse to sell me something unless I have a prescription. You have discriminated against me. You refuse to sell me Sudafed? So I need 20 boxes. You’ve discriminated.

    Look, this is the place example of vote with your wallet. Your store refuses to carry birth control? Go elsewhere. Is it the only shop in town? Well, I bet there are going to be PLENTY of people willing to stand outside and protest with you. Don’t go running to the government to have them solve your problems. Try and do it yourself.

  73. johnva says:

    It needs to be clarified, because I’ve seen a few confused comments: birth control pills cannot cause an abortion (nor can Plan B, the “morning after pill”). Once an embryo has implanted in the uterine walls, they will not “kill” it. And the woman is NOT pregnant before that time period. These pills mainly work by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus to block sperm from traveling, though there is some speculation that they may also prevent some fertilized eggs from implanting as a rare secondary mode of action.

    You can believe an unimplanted fertilized egg is a “human being”, but that would make you an idiot because there is no basis for that belief other than an arbitrary and subjective belief pulled out of thin air by religious leaders in the relatively recent past. And you shouldn’t have the right to impose your idiocy on other people who are less stupid than you just because you cloak your dumb beliefs in religion. If you’re a pharmacist and you refuse BC prescriptions for a non-medical reason, then you deserve to be fired with no recourse. Small businesses, like these ones, are still licensed by the state and the state can force them to carry the pills in order to do business as a pharmacy (although I admit that’s a bit more of a gray area). There is nothing “pro-life” about being against birth control.

  74. PeteyNice says:

    There are two issues here that I think some people are confusing. I think this place absolutely has a right to not stock whatever they want. You wouldn’t be pissed because McDonald’s won’t sell you a Whopper or because you can’t get a PS3 at the Nintendo Store, would you?

    Where the line gets crossed is where the pharmacy stocks it but the pharmacist refuses to dispense it because she feels it is immoral. That is the crime. That is where the govt should step in.

  75. mike says:

    heavylee-again & Xerloq:


    I agree that any company should have the right to sell or not sell something, regardless of it being medication or otherwise. If they wanted to, they could not sell medication that was tested on animals. Would that make the outrage worse or better?

    This fight shouldn’t be about religious beliefs. Like Xerloq said, why should their beliefs align with yours?

    I hate the fact that as soon as religion hits an argument, that people go bat-crazy.

    I’m a Christian and I’m pro-life. I don’t agree with the pharmacy because of that…I agree with them because they should have the right to sell what they want.

  76. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: No one is being forced to give up their rights if pharmacists are forced to dispense BC prescriptions. Don’t like it? Don’t take it. The only “right” being infringed upon is the “right” for them to impose their beliefs about what the invisible man in the sky tells them to do on others who don’t believe the same thing.

  77. mike says:

    @Tux the Penguin:

    First, if you show up at an ER and they refuse treatment, your family is about to be very rich. First, they can’t refuse treatment, period.

    This is only true of the emergancy is life-threatening. RARELY is a pregnancy life-threatening.

    @PeteyNice: Where the line gets crossed is where the pharmacy stocks it but the pharmacist refuses to dispense it because she feels it is immoral.

    You know, the same could be said for many things. I would say if you feel immoral about something, you have the right, and (quite frankly) the duty to not do it. Government should NOT FORCE someone to do something even though they disagree with it. The government has enough problems getting people to do something even if they agree with it.

  78. nsv says:

    @Meshuggina: So volunteer firefighters have the right to let people burn to death because they don’t approve of they way those people live?


  79. mike says:


    The only “right” being infringed upon is the “right” for them to impose their beliefs about what the invisible man in the sky tells them to do on others who don’t believe the same thing.

    I love tolerant people like you who hate intolerant people like Christians, Muslums, Hindi, and Buddists…Proves that no one is tolerant.

  80. sleze69 says:

    I am pro-choice and while I am opposed to random pharmacists imposing their will at a CVS or Walgreens, I fully support this idea. If you want to have a store that only sells some of the things that people want, that is your choice. It should not be regulated. People can order prescriptions online and have them delivered so access to a pharmacy in “rural” areas is a non-argument.

    This is the same thing as the stupid smoking bans in bars. It should be up to the restaurant/bar to do it, not the city/statw. And for the record, I am a non-smoker.

  81. Xerloq says:

    @nsv: This is a matter for the police, since the prescription belongs to her.

    On a separate note, emergency care is different than health care. There is no immediate, life-threatening situation that a condom or birth-control pill would fix. You have time to go elsewhere. Every pharmacy I’ve been in has a sign stating “If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.”

    The pharmacists don’t need to push their beliefs, either. Simply say the pill/condom/whatever is out of stock, hand back the prescription, smile and let the customer be on their way.

  82. jesmcb says:

    I wonder if they are following the standard practice of referring clients requesting BC or the morning after pill to pharmacies that can meet their needs? If they don’t they are certainly acting unethically.

  83. Gasparzinha says:

    I know how much time and effort goes into becoming a licensed pharmacist and that pharmacists possess a wealth of medical knowledge, but as the profession is practiced in the US today, it really is little more than counting pills and likely relying too much on a computer system to warn of contraindicated drugs.

    When I lived in Brazil (as an ex-pat without health insurance), unless a limb turned gangrenous or I was exposed to anthrax, I went to the pharmacist for all of my health needs, without needing a prescription. I would explain my symptoms and the pharmacist would make a package for me of OTC and technically “prescriptions” meds. Birth control pills cost US$5 for a month’s supply and didn’t require a prescription, although you had to get them from the pharmacist. In a Catholic country where abortion is illegal, birth control is heavily subsidized by the government.

    Now that I’m living in Hong Kong (as an ex-pat with private health insurance), I’ve noticed prescription drugs are more regulated, but I can still go to the pharmacist for my basic health needs rather than make a trip to the doctor. And birth control pills cost about US$12 for a month’s supply and are OTC.

    Unless pharmacists in the US start operating in a doctor-lite capacity as they do in some other countries, sorry, but they should dispense the pills prescribed by those legally allowed to evaluate patient needs or find a new line of work. It seems as if there are people going into the profession just to further their own moral agendas, and I don’t think the health arena is one where a battle of this type should be fought.

  84. johnva says:

    @PeteyNice: Yes, these are two separate issues. I do think that employers who DO choose to sell birth control should be free to fire pharmacists who refuse to dispense it. And in fact, they ARE free to do so, because they are firing them for refusing to do their job rather than for their religious beliefs. Customers not getting their BC prescriptions filled is not a reasonable accomodation of the employee’s religious “beliefs” (which are actually more political in nature than genuinely religious, since they are really about imposing a certain world view on everyone).

    That being said, pharmacies are a highly regulated type of business. State governments can apply whatever regulations about this sort of thing they want on them as a condition for licensing. At the very least, I think they should be required to advertise prominently that they refuse to fill BC presriptions (and not just using inaccurate euphemisms like “pro-life pharmacy”). And where does this freedom of businesses to impose their religious beliefs on customers end? Before the civil rights era, many people claimed it was their sincere religious belief that black people were inferior or that interracial marriage was wrong, and refused service to people based on those beliefs. Right now, Catholic hospitals are refusing to provide life-saving treatment in the form of termination of ectopic pregnancy to patients who are already in their hospitals for other reasons. There are even ambulance drivers who have refused to transport certain patients on the basis of religious “beliefs”. At some point, especially in emergency situations, the state has a right to impose some rules on the degree to which private businesses can impose their beliefs on others.

  85. Jabberkaty says:

    As long as I know where I can go to get my pill, problem solved. If it becomes an issue, switch pharmacies.

    Man, I wish there wasn’t a risk of blood clots, cause then they’d be over the counter. Ah well.

  86. bohemian says:

    @dragonvpm: So if you order birth control prescriptions through the mail can your postal carrier refuse to deliver them on religious grounds if they think that is what is in the package?

    At some point people need to STFU and get back to work or find a new line of work.

  87. dragonvpm says:

    @cef21: In some areas if a pharmacist decides not to sell something, there really isn’t a practical alternative. This was actually covered somewhat extensively when Plan B began to become widely available and many pharmacies in rural areas refused to carry it. I’ve read about women having to travel 100, 200 miles to get it because the 2 or 3 closer pharmacies refused to carry it (which basically meant driving to a big city).

    I find it interesting how some people are arguing that it’s ok for a pharmacist not to sell it because it’s not life or death AND people are arguing that we wouldn’t force a bookstore to carry Playboy. My point is basically that since it’s apparently difficult to mail-order prescription medicine within the US, there should be some regulation that “forces” pharmacies to facilitate it’s acquisition. The system is apparently in place so that someone has to check your little piece of paper before selling you the “dangerous” drug so the government should step in and make some arrangements so that if you are forced to get the little piece of paper, pharmacists should help you fill that prescription in some way.

    Perhaps the key though would be to set some rule regarding distances. If a pharmacy registers as a conscientious objector of sorts then it can refuse to stock certain medications so long as they send all business to a nearby pharmacy (say within 20 miles). If there is no pharmacy within 20 miles, or none of them carry it, then the pharmacist has to check the prescription and register the person so they can mail order it (or something). That way they don’t have to actually dirty their hands with it, but a person can’t be denied ANY medication they’re prescribed.

  88. MonkeyMonk says:

    I consider myself pro-choice and I have no problem with Pharmacists deciding what the should and shouldn’t sell. I also think that if they break the licensing codes for their particular area that they should lose their license.

    The only part of this story I find troubling is the pharmacists confiscating a customers prescription and I think they should be held liable for any actions they take in this manner that causes any patient to not be able to get the proper care they request.

    Also, it would be courteous to put a disclaimer on the front door to save people the trouble of shopping there but somehow I suspect being courteous isn’t high on their list of priorities.

  89. chartrule says:

    pharmacist have no business pushing their views or personal beliefs on others

  90. battra92 says:

    @PeteyNice: That is the crime. That is where the govt should step in.

    Those are the scariest words I’ve heard in a long time.

    @linus: So true.

    @Xerloq: Every pharmacy I’ve been in has a sign stating “If you have a life-threatening emergency, please call 911.”

    And there’s a 24/7 pharmacy at most hospitals in case of emergency.

  91. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: Making light of other people’s beliefs simply paints you as a fool, sir. You might think their beliefs are ridiculous, but they think yours are, too. You are at an impasse, and now nothing will be accomplished between you.

    You think someone should force them to sell birth control, they think you should be forced to be religious. You cite government regulation, they cite divine mandate. You want to send them to prison, they want to send you to hell.

    Societies don’t work based on force. Societies have to agree to live together despite differing beliefs. Live and let live – or live and let die.

    Pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control at establishments that carried it have been fired. The new stores don’t carry it. Don’t shop there.

    See @PeteyNice‘s comment. It’s funny.

  92. mike says:


    pharmacist have no business pushing their views or personal beliefs on others

    Neither do you but you do so anyway…My what a world we live in where we just tell people that they shouldn’t tell people how to live their lives. Irony.

  93. dragonvpm says:

    @bohemian: Umm… what? I’m arguing that no one should be allowed to deny prescription medicine based on their beliefs.

    Postal carriers are probably a good example of a line of work where you pretty much do your job and you don’t worry what other people are doing (e.g. they still deliver Playboy and all those other magazines that come in black plastic bags).

    Of course, since birth control etc… became the cause celebre for the conservatives it seems like the anti-porn movement is being neglected. I’m sure we’ll come back around and some pious postal carrier will object to delivering “smut” and other items from questionable places.

  94. rob_p says:

    Just because a person has a belief that you may not agree with does not make them a “religious loon”.

  95. mike says:


    Pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control at establishments that carried it have been fired. The new stores don’t carry it. Don’t shop there.

    This is one of the bravest things I think you can do. I had a friend of mine who was a nurse at an on-campus health clinic. It wasn’t until recently that they started doing abortions and prescribing Plan-B pills. She worked there for 10-some odd years. She drew the line in the sand that she would continue to do her work, but would refuse to treat anyone for an abortion.

    She was a great nurse and had a great record.

    She was fired on the spot.

    She stood up to her beliefs, against the popularity, and she got punished for it.

  96. johnva says:

    @linus: I don’t “hate” anyone religious. I just think that a lot of their beliefs are misguided, and are more about politics than about sincere belief. It’s not a religious belief just because it’s your pastor’s opinion. The problem with allowing unlimited religious accommodations is that religion is entirely subjective. You can make up anything and claim it’s your sincere religious belief, and no one will be able to question that because religion is unverifiable and subjective. So what we’re seeing is a lot of people on the religious right couching their political beliefs (like birth control should be illegal) in terms of religion so as to get more respect for those beliefs. They are intentionally smearing the line between politics and religion in order to get more protection for their radical and outrageous authoritarian political agenda. Well, I don’t respect their “religious” beliefs and I don’t respect their political beliefs either. I freely admit that.

  97. CharlieInSeattle says:

    Hey they are business and they have a right to sell or not sell what they want. But maybe we should charge more tax on them for that privilege if they want to more kids to come into life, then maybe they should pay for them.

  98. wiggatron says:

    @Nogard13: “BC pills aren’t life or death medications.”

    It can be a life saving med. My ex-girlfriend would grow huge, cantaloupe size cysts on her ovaries. They caused a slew of other serious health problems and the only thing that kept them from growing was “the pill”.

    This whole issue is a load of bull. If you feel that you shouldn’t have to fill a certain type of scrip, because of your belief system, then you made the wrong career choice. Nobody forced these people to become pharmacists.

  99. battra92 says:

    @linus: At least we aren’t blowing each other up or throwing each other to the lions anymore.

  100. mike says:

    Let me back up the truck here…why is this turning into a religious discussion?!

    The problem here has little to do with religion, except for the reasoning behind their decision. Walmart doesn’t sell rated-M products, nor does it sell porn or unrated movies.

    Why doesn’t Walmart get the same religious flame war? Is it because they don’t say that’s why? If McDonald’s says that it wasn’t going to serve hamburgers because the owner was Hindi, would that make it “pushing religious adjendas?”

  101. BlackFlag55 says:

    Right of conscience is an article of faith on the Left.

    But they cannot extend it to people who have different views on these matters?

    What hypocrisy.

  102. PeteyNice says:

    @battra92: Pharmacists aren’t some cashier that needs no training. They are licensed by the state. The state has the obligation to ensure that they dispense all valid and legal prescriptions.

  103. utensil42 says:

    @battra92: And what about the cases in which it is life or death? I was raped in high school. No pharmacist in my small town would give me morning after pills. I soon learned I was pregnant and, due to medical conditions, carrying a pregnancy to term would likely kill me. It was difficult to find a good doctor in the area who would perform an abortion for a poor, unwed teenager. Now tell me this won’t affect people and that we can vote with our wallets.

  104. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: I see their beliefs as no different than say, belief in astrology or psychics. It doesn’t make me a fool to ridicule them any more than someone is a fool for making fun of astrology. Anyway, my feelings about their beliefs are irrelevant because I fully agree that people should have the freedom to believe whatever crazy nonsense they want. That freedom should end once it becomes behavior that imposes the consequences of those beliefs on other people who don’t agree. Now, we can argue whether that’s the case in this instance (I think it’s a bit of a gray area). You have a right to whatever private beliefs you want, but you don’t have a right to make other people agree with you. Pharmacists voluntarily give up some of their freedom because they choose to work in a public health field.

    @linus: Good. She deserved to be fired if she refused to do her job. She should work somewhere that agrees with her beliefs. That sucks that the policies change, and I do feel for her. But if your beliefs are that important to you you should be willing to quit your job or be fired over it. What these pharmacists and such want is to be able to refuse to do their job and be protected from all consequences of taking that stand. Sometimes taking a moral stand requires that you sacrifice something.

  105. Norcross says:

    I can understand if an individual pharmacist doesn’t want to sell me something due to a moral obligation. I don’t agree with it, but I understand. However, there better be someone else in the store who WILL sell it to me.

    Jim the pharmacist not selling? ok. CVS not selling? hell no

  106. bobpence says:

    There is no shortage of pharmacies in Chantilly, VA, which is near Dulles Airport and in a part of Northern Virginia that is rapidly being built up. As the article notes, the K-Mart in the same shopping center has a pharmacy. Need megapacks of condoms? Chantilly is near the center of a virtual explosion of Costco stores, all with pharmacies and, might I add, pharmacists who appear to represent a range of belief systems.

    So why open at all? Just like Catholic hospitals (which don’t provide abortions), I imagine they view it as a part of their ministry to serve the needs of those in the wider community, like myself, who depend on various pharmaceuticals to maintain and improve our health.

    Vote with your feet, folks. As someone who opposes restrictive laws on private businesses, such as those in Illinois, I might just drive the extra few miles every month to patronize this place. And stop somewhere else on the way home for other needs!

  107. mike says:


    Well, I don’t respect their “religious” beliefs and I don’t respect their political beliefs either.

    What’s the difference between a “non-religious” person being political verses the “Christian right wing boogy man” being political?

    Aren’t both entitled to their opinions? Aren’t both allowed to petition the government for changes? Shouldn’t both voices be heard?

    In my opinion, there is no difference between a liberal person sharing their beliefs and a conservative person sharing their beliefs. Granted, there are many Christian conservatives but being a conservative doesn’t make you Christian just like being liberal doesn’t make you an atheist.

  108. tundey says:

    I don’t think people should be compelled to provide services that goes against their religious or moral beliefs. As long as the pharmacies aren’t beneficiaries of public money and they are clearly marked as not carrying these kinds of drugs, I don’t see a problem with it.

  109. cef21 says:

    @dragonvpm: Why isn’t mail order an option? A number of insurance plans REQUIRE their patients to get the medicines via mail order. Heck, I think Walgreens will even refill and send your prescription to you automatically.

    My understanding is that the only “emergency contraception” (i.e. the “morning after” pill) is actually administered in the doctor’s office. So, I have a tough time believing that having to mail order birth control medicine is a serious impediment.

  110. johnva says:

    @linus: Wal-mart refusing to sell M-rated games is an entirely different situation, because their decision is not based on their owners’ religious beliefs. Instead, they presumably think they will get increased sales by refusing to sell that stuff and thus getting a larger percentage of the “moral outrage” crowd. That being said, I don’t shop at Wal-mart, and that’s one of the reasons.

    Pharmacies are a bit different because they are a part of the public health system. They are much more tightly controlled and regulated by the government, as a result.

  111. tundey says:

    This is more reason why the govt needs to get involved in health care system.

    BTW, WalMart does sell M-rated games. I bought GTA IV from their website.

  112. Norcross says:

    @linus: most of the time, standing your ground = no more job. if she’s a great nurse, then she’d get another job without a problem. but if I decide not to do something that my company is paying me to do because I have a moral issue with it, then I need to get a new job.

    i work in finance. i don’t like the run-up on commodity prices that, in part, are due to new money being invested in the form of index funds and private money. however, i can’t tell someone that I won’t buy the DJIA Commodity-linked ETF because I have a moral obligation.

  113. Meshuggina says:

    @rockergal: I *do* feel that the government is over-stepping it’s bounds when it decides individuals can’t smoke inside private establishments. However, I also understand the other side, and I don’t think these issues are the same.

    One could make the argument that allowing individuals to smoke in a bars is a public health risk. There is no such health risk in forcing someone to seek another pharmacist.

  114. glennski says:

    From the article.

    “Pharmacists at eight pro-life drugstores contacted by The Washington Post said they would not actively interfere with a woman trying to fill a prescription elsewhere, but none posts signs announcing restrictions”

    So if you’re so proud of your beliefs, why not advertise what your restrictions are upfront? Oh, because that might hurt business.

  115. unpolloloco says:

    so…….walk across the street to another pharmacy?

  116. johnva says:

    @@linus: Of course they are entitled to their opinions. But sometimes the state has to regulate business for the public good. I’m not saying that I necessary think these people should be shut down, but I do think they should be forced to a) clearly advertise that they refuse to fill some prescriptions for an arbitrary reason, and b) refer patients to another NEARBY pharmacy that can accommodate all needs that they refuse to. And I do think that employers should be able to fire pharmacists who go against company policy on selling birth control.

    @cef21: Your understanding is wrong. Emergency contraception is an OTC drug that can be administered at home. You may be confusing Plan B with RU-486, which is a true abortion drug and not a contraceptive. So it IS a serious impediment, time-wise, to make people get Plan B through mail order. People have a legal right to buy it, and they should have access to it regardless of how other people feel about it morally.

  117. battra92 says:

    @utensil42: How do you do Straw Man?

  118. mikelotus says:

    Viagra is pro-life. It is encouraged by these idiots. Chantilly is part of Washington suburbs so this is not a big deal here. There are plenty of small towns though with only one pharmacy. Some day this country will grow up and become more civilized like Western Europe and lose the need for these superstitions that we call religion.

    As far as the fire department as government employees. What about an all volunteer fire department that are still quite common? Do they have the right to chose which fires to respond to?

  119. Shadowman615 says:

    They certainly do *not* have any right to keep someone’s prescription so they can’t get it filled elsewhere.

  120. mike says:


    Wal-mart refusing to sell M-rated games is an entirely different situation, because their decision is not based on their owners’ religious beliefs.

    Of course, this has nothing to do with the fact that the person that started Walmart is a Christian. So packaging makes the difference. If the pharmacy instead said that it wasn’t going to provide contraceptives because they wanted to save the rain forest or because they want to cut down on global warming, it would be okay.

    but I do think they should be forced to a) clearly advertise that they refuse to fill some prescriptions for an arbitrary reason, and b) refer patients to another NEARBY pharmacy that can accommodate all needs that they refuse to.

    I’ll agree with A. Not sure if the pharmacy should HAVE to know what other pharmacies are doing. Seems like a conflict of interest.

  121. mike says:


    Some day this country will grow up and become more civilized like Western Europe and lose the need for these superstitions that we call religion.

    And people say that religious people are bigotted.

  122. kittenfoo says:

    Well, you know what they say:

    “Every sperm is sacred.
    Every sperm is great.
    If a sperm is wasted,
    God gets quite irate.”

    — Monty Python

  123. mzhartz says:

    @wiggatron: Exactly! A pharmacist who isn’t comfortable filling some prescriptions should perhaps look at a different line of work.

  124. dragonvpm says:

    @johnva: Hmmm you brought up a really good point that I completely forgot about. So far, the debate has been about curtailing people’s supposedly “religious” beliefs by making them sell things like BC, but there’s another drug related area that is heavily controlled regardless of what someone claims they believe.

    iirc, you cannot use illegal drugs in religious ceremonies even though some tribal cultures did use things like peyote etc… to connect with the spirits etc… God can’t come down and tell Fred to make a new church where lighting up a doobie and taking a hit of acid is part of the holy communion. So clearly we do allow the government to step in an dictate elements of religion based on the “greater good” (leaving the illegal drug debate aside for the moment).

    Given that, I don’t see why the government couldn’t say that anyone who ran a pharmacy and handled prescriptions had to carry a range of contraceptives because it’s for the “greater good” and it’s a public health issue (i.e. the less people get STDs the better for all of us). They could (and should) inform people who ask that abstinence is the only 100% guaranteed way to not get an STD or pregnant but follow that up with the correct uses for the relevant BC devices/drugs and they should endeavor to leave judgmental attitudes and religion out of the discussion in order to not discourage people (particularly younger people) from seeking out BC.

  125. tjevans says:

    The pharmacy in question is a member of “Devine Mercy Care.” Sounds to me like it’s some religious group.

    In that case, it sounds like their in their rights to refuse to dispense birth-control. First, each store sets their own formulary, so they decide what to carry and what not; it’s impossible to carry every possible medicine a doc may prescribe.

    Second, if I remember my employment law class correctly, a religious employer may decide not to provide a benefit that is against it’s beliefs. I know of a local hospital owned by the Catholic Church that, according to friends who work there, selected an health insurance plan that does not provide for birth control. (But I agree it’s hypocritical that they pay for ED drugs.)

  126. mike says:


    Exactly! A pharmacist who isn’t comfortable filling some prescriptions should perhaps look at a different line of work.

    Just like Jewish people should only work in finance, irish people should be butchers, and the french should never be allowed in the military.

  127. kittenfoo says:

    There are cases, and I know because I’m one of them, of women who take birth control pills not as contraception, but to control excessive or irregular bleeding. But I’m sure women like us manage to offend their good Christian sensibilities anyway, somehow.

  128. AmbiUbi says:

    Why even get into a field to help people if that’s not actually what you’re going to do? Sure, give them a speech or whatever on your opinion of birth control if that’s what you want to do, hand out a pamphlet, but you shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to fill the script. I agree with those who say they should choose another field of work.

    @Norcross: You make a good point about having someone else there to dispense the script. At the very least I agree with others who have said that it should be prominantly stated that they will not fill your birth control script, AND provide you a list of other pharmacies that will do so. Whether or not you get birth control should be up to your DOCTOR, not the pharmacist.

    I also love how many of these “pro-lifers” only seem to give two craps about you until you’re actually BORN….. then it’s no financing for public education, health care, child care…etc.

  129. utensil42 says:

    @battra92: Please please please tell me that you are not belittling a rape victim. You may not like the situation I was in (I sure didn’t!) but you do not get to tell me my concerns were invalid. In that situation, Plan B would have helped save my life and would have saved me from further trauma.

  130. mike says:

    BTW: not all Christians think contraceptives are wrong and immoral. I, for example, don’t think anything is wrong with the pill or other forms of contraceptives. Plan-B and RU-486, in my opinion, abortion drugs*.

    *: this is neither the time or place to discuss my opinions regarding contraceptives. I only offer a clarification that not all Christians believe the same things.

  131. johnva says:

    @linus: Pharmacies are not just like any other private business, as I said. They are required by the government to play an important public health role, too. They should have to make referrals because it’s their duty as licensed to provide for the public health. If they want to refuse certain prescriptions, they’ve made it their business to know where they can refer people to as an alternative.

    Seriously, would you think it was okay if a “psychic” pharmacist randomly refused to fill all kinds of prescriptions because their “powers” told them that something bad would happen to the people if they did? Or should that pharmacist be fired? Understand that I don’t think that situation is ANY different from a religious pharmacist randomly refusing to fill certain prescriptions because they think some invisible being tells them they should. That’s where I’m coming from.

  132. mike says:


    Seriously, would you think it was okay if a “psychic” pharmacist randomly refused to fill all kinds of prescriptions because their “powers” told them that something bad would happen to the people if they did? Or should that pharmacist be fired?

    Yes and yes.

    We’re talking about a business, not a pharmacist. Let’s make that clear. NOT the same thing. The business just happens to have a pharmacy.

  133. iMike says:

    If an ER doctor thinks letting a gunshot victim die would send a message to society that gun violence is wrong, should he/she withhold life saving treatment?

  134. RokMartian says:

    Comparing pharmacists to policemen or firemen is like saying that Chick-fil-a should stay open on Sundays and provide me free food because I am hungry and could starve to death.

    If you don’t like the services/products they offer (or don’t), I don’t believe the government should dictate what they should.

  135. mike says:


    I also love how many of these “pro-lifers” only seem to give two craps about you until you’re actually BORN….. then it’s no financing for public education, health care, child care…etc.

    And I also love how many of these “pro-choicers” only seem to give a frick to kill something before their born…but then it’s no capital punishment, no gun rights, and no prison system because everyone obeys the law.

  136. mike says:

    I think it’s too late to get back on topic…

    Mods, you may want to close comments to this article.

  137. selectman says:

    @linus: That doesn’t even come close to making sense. What does a failure to live up to the standards under which one was licensed have to do with dated cultural stereotypes?

  138. keith4298 says:

    @beavis88: I completely disagree. If you are a pharmacist that works at an establishment that sells these drugs and you disagree with the practice, you should be free to open a competing pharmacy in line with your beliefs.

  139. johnva says:

    @linus: It’s the time of place to discuss your opinions when you are basing your opinions on incorrect information.

    Plan B is no different in its mode of action than any other hormonal birth control method, like the regular BC pill. So if you want to be consistent, and you think that Plan B is an abortion drug, then you should also believe that the regular Pill is also an abortion drug. Because they are the SAME THING, with only a difference in dose. Likewise, if you don’t think the regular Pill is an abortion drug, you shouldn’t think Plan B is. Neither works after a woman is clinically pregnant. Both have a slight chance of preventing a fertilized egg from implanting, though that is not their primary mode of action. You know, don’t you, that fertilization does NOT take place during sex, right? Anyway, women’s bodies reject a large percentage of embryos anyway, both randomly and because a lot of them have deadly genetic defects. So the “life begins at conception” thing is kind of absurd anyway, in my opinion.

  140. warloc66 says:

    Won’t this all be pretty well moot when the place goes out of business because most insurance companies will only pay for prescriptions at big pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart?

  141. mike says:

    @selectman: You’re argument is if you don’t believe in something you should find a different job. Makes just as much sense to me.

    I think Jews make great accountants. Why? Is that wrong?

    The French always surrender. They shouldn’t be in the army.

    Why is it that when it comes to religion, that there is a fuss? Why is okay to discriminate against race but not Christianity?

    I say Christianity because people defend Muslims when they can’t get jobs. If a Muslim is forced to wear a beard mask because he works near food, it’s called discrimination. It’s awesome how double-standards work.

  142. Jaysyn was banned for: says:


    You sure are wrong a lot. Don’t you ever get tired of it?

  143. dragonvpm says:

    @cef21: I’m actually not well versed in how easy or hard it is to get medicine via mail-order. I was under the impression that it could be difficult (or perhaps just expensive). That could very well resolve a good bit of the overall problem so long as pharmacies who refuse to sell (or carry) certain drugs make it known to their patients how they can get them via mail order.

    That still leaves open (IMO) the tricky issue of a pharmacy dispensing potentially incorrect information WRT birth control, STDs, and even medicine in general based on someone’s religious agenda. I think the problem I always run into when this discussions come up is that most people want to look at this from a traditional fundamentalist christian viewpoint without considering that there are other religions out there (e.g. the ones in the news recently that don’t believe in using only prayer without any medical intervention) and once you allow part of the medical establishment to be operated based on someone’s religious views, you open the door for other people to operate based on their views and that doesn’t seem like a safe or healthy situation.

  144. johnva says:

    @kittenfoo: Yes, that’s one of the worst parts of this. Not only do they refuse contraception, but they presume to look into the minds of other people and divine the reasons they are obtaining contraceptive drugs. Plenty of people get contraception (including Plan B under this) for medical reasons, like you said, or because they are on another drug that would cause horrific birth defects if they got pregnant while on it, or because they were raped, or because a pregnancy would kill them medically. “Pro-life” advocates don’t care about the nuances of the situation; they see everything in black and white, apparently.

  145. dragonvpm says:

    @linus: Actually, it’s more like an orthodox jew probably shouldn’t take a job taste testing bacon or pork chops.

  146. MattMcKindling says:

    I’m pro-life, but I should state that I’m not yet convinced that the birth control pill is abortifacient after tons of reading on the subject. The fact is, no one knows exactly how the pill works.

    That said, I think it’s perfectly within a pharmacists rights to decline to give out medication that they believe kills a valuable human being. It’s a private pharmacy, it’s not like this is state run.

    If you don’t agree, don’t go there, but why should a pharmacist be forced to do something that so strongly violates their morality?

  147. mike says:

    @johnva: I am refraining from injecting my opinion because of comments like yours. Regardless of what “facts” I have, people like you will still attack because it’s not about facts. People like you rarely will take the time to truly understand opinions. If you really want to know, feel free to send me a private message.

    This is why this thread has gone overboard. The topic should be focused on a business wanting to sell and not sell products. Not a pharmacist…not a pharmacy.

    Emotions have run too high on this thread and it’s starting to show. I’m bowing out and moving on to other topics. These comments have produced a horrible flamewar that I think should have been controlled long ago.

  148. johnva says:

    @linus: I agree that those are different situations, and that they should be handled differently by regulations. But it seemed that earlier you were arguing that people should be able to keep their jobs while refusing to do tasks (like abortion) that their employer requires them to do as part of their job. The actual legal standard for that latter situation is “reasonable accommodation”. If the employer can easily accommodate the religious belief of an employee, then they must do so (for example, if two pharmacists are on duty, and only one has a problem with contraception, then the one who has no problem with it could simply handle all those prescriptions). But forcing an employer to hire more employees or turn customers away entirely is not a reasonable accommodation.

  149. selectman says:

    To battra92 et al who speak of the right to sell whatever the store owner pleases: I agree wholeheartedly with you in the case of non-essentials. There’s no question that Target could freely stop selling Sony products if it so desired. The only thing keeping Target from doing so is the obvious negative effect on business. However, if said negative effect was not present, it would not constitute a breach of a social contract to ditch Sony.

    For the sake of argument, let’s apply the “no negative business effect” hypothetical to CVS selling contraceptives of all kinds. Does the choice of pharmacy argument still hold? What if the only available pharmacy within 50 miles is a CVS (or other like-minded business)? If all major pharmacies stopped selling contraceptives, wouldn’t that cause massive problems nation-wide? Is it reasonable that the only thing preventing such a situation is business conditions or should measures against such a thing be taken in the name of public health?

    I think these are all valid questions. More importantly, law should be based on principle, not present-day circumstances. Societal winds may shift, but the government has a responsibility to protect its citizens from serious risks to public health.

  150. Balisong says:

    @Mary Marsala with Fries: This is DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN. It is therefore not protected behavior that falls under “my business, my choice”. You are not allowed to refuse to sell some products to people of races that you don’t “believe” should be permitted to have them, and you are not allowed to stick your fat nose in on a woman’s decisions regarding her own reproduction.

    I agree. On top of that, how is this not religious discrimination? If someone’s religion allows BC, they should be able to get it. Noone should be allowed to tell them “No you can’t have it” because of a pharmacist’s beliefs – if you’re a pharmacist, you chose your career and worked long and hard to get a degree. If that career didn’t fit your beliefs, why did you go into that career? You shouldn’t be refusing health care. …I’m not quite saying what I want to here…don’t know how to say it >_< but it sounds like religious discrimination to me.

    @linus: If they wanted to, they could not sell medication that was tested on animals.

    I think this is where this problem is heading. First some pharmacists don’t want to dispense BC, then some other pharmacists don’t want to dispense meds that were tested on animals, then what next? Where are we going with this if we as a country say pharmacists can decide to not sell whatever they want? I may be going overboard, but it’s a scary thought that someday someone will have to shop around for their various prescriptions because different pharacists are dispensing different things. It’s not like shopping for clothes or groceries.

    Well I’m an atheist and that’s just how I feel about it. But everyone seems to have some good points on all sides of the argument (except the pharmacists themselves).

  151. AmbiUbi says:

    @linus: Regardless, I also think your previous argument relating cultural/career stereotypes makes no sense….pharmacists (no matter the culture, I might add) spend YEARS in school learning what their purpose is, which is to PROVIDE a public health service for the community. Birth control is a legal drug, and one that could hardly be abused, unlike drugs like Vicodan and Oxycontin, which I’m SURE these pharmacies have NO PROBLEMS doling out like candy.

    The only reason a pharmacist would refuse to fill it is because THEY DON’T BELIEVE IN IT and apparently feel that any woman who takes it is just running around sleeping with everyone without wanting the consequences that come with it. Which, to anyone with an inkling on how female anatomy and the world works, would KNOW this isn’t always the case. Of COURSE there will be a few bad apples in the bunch, but I don’t believe it’s a pharmacist’s job to make that call. Considering they MIGHT see you what, maybe once a month? Far less than a doctor, who would be better equipped to make those kinds of decisions?

    Someone else on the board said that maybe those pharmacists who don’t want to fill scripts such as this get their degree with an asterisk next to it….I think that if this is going to be allowed then that’s what we should do.

  152. AmbiUbi says:

    @warloc66: Well, according to some here, that would be discrimination if those places closed down because insurance wouldn’t fund them…..

  153. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. It’s their right to sell what they want.

  154. @johnva:

    “Pro-life” advocates don’t care about the nuances of the situation; they see everything in black and white, apparently.

    I don’t think being pro-life has anything to do with this pharmacy’s choice to not sell contraceptives, unless you’re referring to the abortion pill.

    Yes, pro lifers do tend to see that abortion results in the death of a human being, and do tend to object on those grounds – I just don’t see what it has to do with this situation.

  155. anatak says:

    @theformatter: yeah, I’m pretty sure stores are allowed to decide what to sell and what not to. Their reasoning is pretty much immaterial.

    I tried to fill a prescription for my daughter the other day (NOT birth control), and they didn’t have it. They just didn’t carry what the doctor prescribed. Big deal? Not so much. I just went to a different pharmacy.

    They have just as much of a right to make a statement with their store as you do with your wallet. Some stores sell only all-natural food. Some sell only American-made products. Some sell the cheapest, lead-tainted crap they can find.

  156. TheNerd says:

    Here’s an idea: If you don’t want to fill lawful customer perscriptions, DON’T WORK FOR A PHARMACY!

  157. Tmoney02 says:

    @linus: “I, for example, don’t think anything is wrong with the pill or other forms of contraceptives. Plan-B and RU-486, in my opinion, abortion drugs*.”

    The fact that you believe RU-486 is the same as Plan-B tells everyone that you have been brainwashed with propaganda rather than taking time to understand issues and form your own nuanced positions based on fact and reason.
    Plan-B is NOT 486 NOR anything like 486. It is high dosage birth control which works EXACTLY like regular birth control and will not harm an already implanted embryo just like regular birth control.

  158. quirkyrachel says:

    Hypothetical situation: I believe that gay men living together is sinful (I don’t think that, but for the sake of argument…). If I work at a store that sells condoms, am I allowed to deny them the purchase based on my beliefs?

  159. LostAngeles says:

    @dialing_wand: Right, but how do you know that the pharmacy is a, “pro-life,” pharmacy? What if you don’t have the time/ability to check via the Internet?

  160. johnva says:

    @InfiniTrent: I agree that this issue has nothing to do with abortion. Apparently the people running these places do think they are related, since they are calling themselves “pro-life pharmacies”. Opposition to birth control is very common among people who are anti-abortion for some reason (seems odd to me, since contraception is a great way to reduce the need for abortion), though by no means universal.

    Most neighborhood pharmacies don’t carry any “abortion pill” anyway. Plan B is not an abortion pill.

  161. jrobie says:

    Pharmacists are basically overpaid vending machines. They have no business imposing their crackpot morals on others. This is on;y marginally different than a Pepsi machine refusing to dispense regular pop to an overweight person.

  162. bgreenway says:

    “Everyone has their own personal beliefs regarding human reproduction. However, when it is your job to provide health services to the public, we don’t understand how those beliefs are more important than the customers’.”

    Perhaps if there were something you felt strongly about and someone asked you to shuck that aside in favor of the almighty dollar and the “consumer” you would, understand.

  163. bgreenway says:

    Here’s an idea: DON’T SHOP THERE.

  164. Tmoney02 says:

    @johnva: Apparently linus takes his ball and goes home when faced with valid scientific facts that might actually make him think and reconsider his “opinions”.

  165. johnva says:

    @InfiniTrent: Also, it’s not a given that “abortion results in the death of a human being”. That is the opinion of most people who are anti-abortion, but in fact it’s a philosophical belief, not a statement of fact. The reason is that it depends on what you consider a “human being”, and that is entirely subjective. Many pro-choice people do not believe that fertilized eggs or fetuses up to a certain point in a pregnancy are “people”. Other pro-choice people just recognize the subjective nature of this argument and refrain from making a judgment about what other people can and cannot do, with the understanding that there is reasonable grounds for disagreement. Disagreeing with something on religious grounds is different from thinking it should be outlawed.

  166. They have the right to sell what they want to whom they want and I have the right to patronize their store if I share their beliefs.

  167. LostAngeles says:

    @InfiniTrent: Actually, hormonal birth control methods also thin the lining of the uterus which helps to prevent implantation. In the eyes of some pro-lifers, this makes them an abortificant since the fertilized egg can not implant. (Actually, it still can. Just like the hormonal methods should keep you from releasing an egg, sometimes it does. Hence the ~1% failure rate with perfect use. Extra tidbit, the best BC aside from abstinence isn’t sterilization. It’s the new IUDs that have a small dose of hormones. The failure rate with that is ridiculously small.)

    Mind you, that a fair amount of fertilized eggs don’t implant on their own anyway.

  168. johnva says:

    @Tmoney02: Some people get offended when their religious beliefs are challenged. Personally, I like when people challenge me, because it makes me think about and constantly reevaluate my opinions.

    I feel I’ve been pretty fair in this thread, especially when it comes to stating the scientific facts. People are entitled to whatever beliefs they want, but they should expect to be challenged when their beliefs conflict with scientific facts.

  169. AmbiUbi says:

    @jrobie: shhh!!! that’s coming next, mark my words…

  170. Tmoney02 says:

    @linus: Also sorry if I am coming off hard to you linus but as johnva said, when I see someone present ideas when they are absolutely factually wrong, no matter what it is about, I make a point to correct them. And I don’t blame you entirely for not understanding what plan-b is as the media has done a horrible horrible job of explaining it and how it is like and different to other products on the market. Oh and also when interviewing people who call it an abortion drug, not immediately correcting them that it is nothing like 486.

  171. RayDelMundo says:

    They should shut up and count pills.

  172. Balisong says:

    @battra92: So the fact that someone did have a life or death situation involving BC is a straw man? Great way to refute an argument you don’t like, and way to blame the rape victim. There’s no other way to say this – you are a jackass.

    @utensil42: I’m sorry for what happened to you, and I’m glad your post ended up on the top of the page so more people might read it.

  173. johnva says:

    @LostAngeles: My understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) is that hormonal birth control has a number of different modes of action, including preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus and thus reducing the ability of sperm to reach the ova, AND the thinning of the uterine lining. The latter should only possibly take place if the other modes of action fail first. And my understanding is that we also don’t have good scientific figures on exactly how often each of these modes of action takes places due to the difficulty of studying it. Personally, I think it’s silly to think that a fertilized egg is a “human being”, at LEAST until it’s actually implanted in the uterus. We don’t even solidly know how many fertilized eggs are created and naturally destroyed, but it’s a lot.

  174. Tmoney02 says:

    @johnva: Ditto. I enjoy having my ideas being challenged, especially if I make a factual error. And at the end of the day if my opinion hasn’t changed I can just say “I guess we will just have to agree that we disagree.”

  175. johnva says:

    @Tmoney02: Yeah, there is a lot of public ignorance out there on these issues (not meaning to imply that linus is ignorant – I don’t know for sure the basis for his beliefs on this). That’s why I usually try to correct wrong information. I’m also really tired of the media just uncritically reporting stuff like that without actually bothering to contradict factually incorrect stuff. The opinions of people who are wrong on the facts do not deserve equal weight with people who are correct.

  176. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: Thank you. Ridicule of someone’s beliefs is not conducive to a rational discussion, whether discussing astrology or otherwise.

    I disagree with your point that these pharmacies are part of a public health system – they are private businesses (for the most part) and are trying to establish themselves under a different business model.

    According to the article, only ten states require pharmacies that generally stock birth control to dispense it. No regulation exists to require pharmacies to stock birth control. The legality of the sale of birth control is not a mandate that it be available everywhere.

    Those pharmacists who refuse to dispense at pharmacy carrying birth control should be fired for refusing to do their job.

    If you have an emergency and need Plan B, go to the ER.

    If a pharmacy won’t sell you birth control, go somewhere else. If they won’t give back your prescription, call the police.

  177. Craig says:

    The thing that concerns me the most about this story isn’t the fact that a pharmacy is refusing to sell birth control (although if that’s their choice they should advertise it clearly and not refuse to return a prescription to a customer who isn’t aware of their policy) but rather the following sentence:

    “However, when it is your job to provide health services to the public, we don’t understand how those beliefs are more important than the customers’.”

    I’ve seen similar statements in several stories on Consumerist which essentially argue that a private business shouldn’t have the right to determine their own policy within the limits of the law. Most of these statements confuse the concept of a private business with that of a public (e.g.., tax-funded) service.

    If you don’t like a business’ policies then tell them and refuse to do business there. That’s the way the U.S. runs. But if you want a society where businesses are forced to bow to the interests and beliefs of various public factions there are plenty of societies like that elsewhere in the world.

  178. Trai_Dep says:

    Pharmacies that do this should have to support the resulting baby, the same as irresponsible fathers are: they BOTH share responsibility for bringing a kid into the world.

  179. UnicornMaster says:

    I don’t think it’s really their place to say what you can or can’t have. What if they start withholding diabetes medication because they don’t believe in sugar or refuse to dispense AIDS medication because you obviously have been living a “morally questionable lifestyle”. I find it ethically repugnant and I hope those people burn in whatever that place is they believe in.

  180. mdoublej says:

    If you don’t believe the government can tell a pharmacy what it can and cannot sell, then it shouldn’t be able to keep me, someone with no pharmacist schooling to open my own pill store.

    And if you are religious enough to want to prevent women from getting birth control, don’t all or most of the other pills somehow interfere with god’s plan as well? Aren’t antibiotics killing a “life”?

    Just get another job.

  181. myprozacdream says:

    @utensil42: this is my first time posting and you are the reason why i’m starting today.

    All of you should be ashamed. Here is someone who actually had difficulty with this issue and instead of addressing the problem, everyone gets caught up in the politics of the situation. We can argue all we want about who’s right and wrong, and the only people who lose are the ones who actually need the help for good reasons.

    What frustrates me is everyone turns this into politics or god. What about this poor girl who was pretty much abandoned by the health care system and left to her own devices in her time of need??? Do we not care at all????

  182. lalaland13 says:

    I used to work in a small town where the Planned Parenthood got picketed regularly with pray-ins and such. And it did not offer abortions. It didn’t even offer RU-486. It may have offered Plan B, but that was it, and frankly, it was probably about the only place in town that did. After it got legalized for “behind the counter” if you’re over 18, a bunch of businesses said they were going to basically wait and see whether or not to stock it, or just continue to not stock it. So PP might have been the only place to get it.

    Anyway, I’m glad there were people out in front of PP, praying for those whores getting Pap smears.

  183. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: Sure, that sounds fairly reasonable. The only real quibble I’ll have is the thing about going to the ER to get Plan B. Even some ERs will not dispense it (specifically, those at Catholic hospitals). Some of those same hospitals will not even allow doctors to terminate an ectopic pregnancy, which can be a critically life-threatening situation for both the mother and the fetus. I think it’s wrong for the religious beliefs of a healthcare provider to be put on a higher priority than the life of a patient (as there is obviously some risk associated with delaying treatment and transferring the patient to another hospital or clinic when they are in that situation). And I also think it’s wrong for say, rape victims, who have already been through a lot, to be forced to “shop around” for a legal drug because the hospital they were taken to refuses to dispense it for an arbitrary reason.

    And Plan B is an OTC drug (though it’s kept behind the counter). You don’t even need a prescription to get it. So it’s overkill and a waste of resources to make people go to ERs when they could just get it at a neighborhood pharmacy.

  184. bleh says:

    They don’t sell condoms, but they do sell used needles on the cheap!

  185. Xerloq says:

    @Craig: I agree. It is not illegal to not stock birth control according to the article. As stated in the article, most pharmacies offer birth control, the birth-control free are a small minority seeking to provide service to a specific audience. This is not illegal according to the article.

    The law should deal with only situations where the actions of individuals infringe on the rights of others. Embarrassment and hurt feelings are not reason enough to impose regulation on private business – especially when alternatives exits.

    A pharmacy is not an emergency care facility. If you require emergency care, go to an emergency care facility.

  186. wiggatron says:

    @linus: @

  187. johnva says:

    @DeanOfAllTrades: There actually have been documented cases already of the sort of thing you mention, which is part of why these cases worry me. Some religious pharmacists and hospitals actually HAVE tried to refuse to dispense AIDS medications or antibiotics (for an STD) to people because they disapproved of their lifestyle. An ambulance driver was apparently busted for refusing to even transport homosexuals. Doctors have refused birth control prescriptions to unmarried women. People may think this whole BC thing is relatively harmless, but at some point the government will need to draw a line on when it’s not acceptable for a provider to refuse to treat someone for supposed “moral” reasons.

  188. BruinEric says:

    @Tux the Penguin:

    Thanks for bringing that up. When I get nasal congestion, I like the old/real Sudafed. Unfortunately, some people found a way to make some sort of illegal drug out of it. So now you can’t find this stuff almost anywhere. The pharmacies and megalomart stores have replaced it with Sudafed-PE which doesn’t work as well for me.

    Because they don’t want to deal with the hassle, each of these establishments has refused to carry medication that better serves me and my occasional illnesses.

    Unfortunately, this issue is super-charged because of religion and the abortion topic, which I’m not gonna touch.

    Best to you.

  189. “They say they believe … that the contraceptives promote …the spread of sexually transmitted diseases”

    I stopped reading there. Obviously crazy people.

  190. mariospants says:

    “y’all can buy some gun ammunition at this here pharmaceupia, but you cain’t buy none o’ that baby-killing prophylactiks an’ such. We be gawd-afeerin’ folks here.”

  191. synergy says:

    Well. If it’s a private business with zero federal financial aid, then it’s their business to sell or not sell whatever they choose. As long as they don’t actively do anything to prevent people from purchasing BC elsewhere or preventing competitors from setting up who DO provide said medicines.

  192. chc08 says:

    What is really ridiculous is that birth control is just a hormone, and is often used not as a contraceptive, but for example to control menstrual cramps, or for skin care. Are they going to refuse filling prescriptions for hormone therapy for breast-cancer patients because it might prevent a pregnancy?
    I know women who had been put on the pill as a teen by their dermatologist, and not for contraception purposes. Also, some drugs (such as Accutane) require you to take birth control. These rouge pharmacists are not just affecting women trying to get contraceptives, they are basically directly interfering with the doctor-patient relationship. What happens if one of these pharmacies is the only one in town, and you have limited means of transportation? They should have their licenses revoked.

  193. synergy says:


    Also, huge numbers of abortions are prevented by the use of birth control.

    Unfortunately, the people who advocate these types of places and practices believe that BC is another form of abortion.

  194. timsgm1418 says:

    @ClayS: I have to agree, I am pro-life and even I disagree with this pharmacys decision. However I do feel that when it comes down to money, they will change their minds. I guess in a way I could understand not selling the morning-after pill, but why birth control? Many people use that to regulate difficult periods, not just as birth control. I guess they won’t sell condoms either? and very good point on the suicide aspect, my guess is they will sell many items that could conceivably be used for suicide, where do you draw the line? i just picture a future of “well we don’t think you are in enough pain for Percocet, here’s some tylenol” Really not the pharmacists job to decide whether you need a certain prescription or not

  195. bohemian says:

    I really don’t give a flying fark what the pharmacists religious beliefs are. Mine are also none of their business. Their job is to dispense pill and check for any potential conflicts between other medications.

    Doing anything else is not part of their job. If they are so into shoving their beliefs on other people there are tons of jobs where they can do that all day long.

  196. timsgm1418 says:

    @synergy: I had a friend that told me that if I didn’t get pregnant every month that was just as bad as having an abortion (she was pro-choice, I’m pro-life) my reaction was WTF? I would much rather see someone on birth control that doesnt’ want a child, than have them get an abortion. My opinion is it’s only an abortion if the egg is fertilized, how can preventing fertilization be the same as abortion? Some people are just stupid. I am all for birth control.

  197. jenl1625 says:

    What I want to know is whether a “pro-life” pharmacy that refuses to provide birth control will dispense drugs that *must not* be taken during a pregnancy – you know, the kind of drugs where (if you are a female capable of getting pregnant) you can’t get the drug without some serious guarantees that you will *make sure* you don’t get pregnant.

  198. dragonfire1481 says:

    I can sort of understand how birth control, by not allowing conception, prevents life from being created…


    Abortion refers to the termination of life AFTER it has been created. If no life exists, there is nothing to be aborted and I would think nothing for the Pro-life people to get upset about.

    Maybe I am missing something here but that’s how I see it. I disagree with these pharamacies as many women do require birth control for a primary purpose OTHER than contraception.

  199. jenl1625 says:


    And I also love how many of these “pro-choicers” only seem to give a frick to kill something before their born…but then it’s no capital punishment, no gun rights, and no prison system because everyone obeys the law

    Yeah, see, some of us think that there is a *difference* between a living, breathing human being and a clump of cells with the potential (assuming nothing goes wrong) to become a living, breathing human being.

    And when you’re going to the level of the birth control pill, it’s the difference between a living, breathing human being and an egg which (if the pill didn’t interfere with the process) would mature and drop and maybe/possibly meet up with a sperm and turn into a clump of cells which (if all goes well) will eventually become a living, breathing human being.

  200. mikelotus says:

    @linus: Hoping we become more civilized is bigoted?

  201. blong81 says:

    So does a car salesman get to stop selling cars and keep his job because he doesn’t think that it’s right selling something that kills people?

    Also, do all these pro-lifers swat bugs and eat meat?

  202. mikelotus says:

    I think these two songs from one of America’s greatest punk bands some up things nicely, here are the lyrics:

  203. mikelotus says:

    @blong81: the main problem with them is that this type of behavior allows their clearly defective DNA to continue to propagate through humanity. Maybe they are actually evolutionarily driven, how ironic, to be these way in order to assure that their genes are passed on the most?

  204. battra92 says:

    @timsgm1418: However I do feel that when it comes down to money, they will change their minds.

    It’s a Catholic pharmacy. They won’t change their minds.

    And for everyone out there who are talking like their local CVS is stopping the sale or a mom and pop remember this is a Marian Catholic pharmacy located next to a Catholic Gift shop.

    Check the website []

    I don’t go to Catholic churches and I don’t go to their pharmacies.

  205. timsgm1418 says:

    @linus: well said

  206. M3wThr33 says:

    People are ignorant. The pill does not cause an abortion. They’re idiots if they don’t understand what the medicine they sell does.

  207. Concerned_Citizen says:

    Too bad a pharmacist doesn’t have the right to refuse to do their job. And also doesn’t have the right to push his or her beliefs on customers. A vegan can’t get a job at McDonald’s and refuse to do anything involving in meat. You would be fired the second you refuse to do your job.
    I fail to see why pharmacists think they are somehow better than everyone else. I wish our government would just nip this crap in the butt and specifically deny a pharmacist or a doctor the ability to discriminate. You can’t just rely on the hope that at least one hospital or pharmacy in a certain town is willing to not discriminate. Because if there are none, a person will not be able to get a medication or a procedure done. Image a Jehovah’s witness doctor refusing to do a blood transfusion and someone dies?
    Or a White Castle employee asking you for your religion and if it is not one he agrees with he refuses to take your order? Again, it boggles my mind that these people are allowed to so blatantly discriminate.

  208. Wait wait wait. I’m as pro-choice as can be, but this is a private business, and as such, they can choose to sell and not sell whatever they want and you have the choice to go to one of the 8974 CVS, Walgreens, Target, Publix, etc… etc… etc…

    If you need birth control or the morning after pill, don’t go to the “pro-life” crazy religious people pharmacy. If you do end up in one and they take your prescription (as noted in the article) call the cops because it’s fucking illegal for them to do that.

    @Kali Mama: Really? So you believe that there is some city out there that only has a pro-life drug store and NOT a (if not several) chain drugstore? That is nonsense.

    @Meshuggina: Exactly. BUT, if they are a store that does not have a policy and the employee is simply choosing not to sell it, there is an obvious problem and that employee should find a new job.

  209. timsgm1418 says:

    @Trai_Dep: definitely not the same thing, the irresponsible father actually performed an act and contributed dna to create the baby. The pharmacy had no part in the woman having sex. Especially in Chantilly, there are plenty of pharmacies. I believe that if people refuse to patronize this pharmacy, they will close down. I would say the majority of businesses are there to make money, if they don’t they close down or change their policies so that they can make money.
    I am a Christian, I am pro-life, however I don’t have a problem with birth control, I do have a problem with the drug that causes abortion. Preventing a pregnancy and actually destroying the fetus or embryo are 2 different things. Not every woman gets pregnant every time they have sex.
    I have had numerous surgeries where I’ve needed prescription dilaudid, if I tried to go to a pharmacy that wouldn’t provide it regardless of their beliefs, I’d go somewhere else.
    I actually had to go to 3 different pharmacies to get one of my prescriptions because the others said they don’t get enough prescriptions to carry the drug, thankfully Target carried it. I kinda feel like this is the same thing, it was a drug I needed, but those pharamcies wouldn’t carry it, I went somewhere else. Oddly Walgreens not only did not carry it, they wouldn’t even order it.

  210. erratapage says:

    It’s incredibly stupid to second guess my doctor’s prescription. I was prescribed birth control to help with a very severe case of endometriosis. The alternative to birth control was surgery to remove my organs, making it impossible for me to ever conceive. Without either, I suppose it wouldn’t matter to these medical professionals that my life would be at risk.

    I wonder if these pharmacists are so short-sighted that they aren’t aware of the secondary uses for birth control.

    As for the morning-after pill… well, I guess they must need to inquire into those specific circumstances, too. For example, my brother and his wife had a 50% chance of giving birth to a child who had an inherited disease that would take millions of dollars of taxpayer money to care for and a 100% chance of death before age 25. I guess they shouldn’t have the right to decide whether to bring that into the world.

  211. sean77 says:

    Someone should mark the pharmacy so others can identify it. I recommend lambs blood on the door.

  212. babette says:

    The FDA approved the first birth control pill(Enovid)in 1960. I would assume that a majority of practicing pharmacists were trained after 1960. A pharmacist in training would have been aware that they may be called upon to dispense birth control. If there was a moral objection to dispensing birth control then why become a pharmacist?
    A private business can refuse to sell a product for whatever reason they want. But why would you choose a profession that could place you in a moral predicament?
    Contentious Objector pharmacists had a choice of profession. Any problems they have with the morality of the job they chose are theirs, not mine.

  213. Tmoney02 says:

    @Voyou_Charmant: Really? So you believe that there is some city out there that only has a pro-life drug store and NOT a (if not several) chain drugstore? That is nonsense.

    Really? You believe in all of america that isn’t at least one town without a cvs/walgreens/riteaid? I would imagine that there are many 1 stoplight towns without a cvs.

    Also I would point to the fact having a cvs doesn’t change anything because if your in a town with a pro-life drug store you are most likely in a very conservative town. Not to hard to fathom the pharmacist working at cvs wouldn’t administer the drugs either as it would be against their values.

    So I would say no, not “nonsense”.

  214. battra92 says:

    @sean77: As mentioned earlier, it’s the one next to the Catholic gift shop.

  215. VikingP77 says:

    Really? All this education they get and they are still that narrow-minded? Do your JOB!

  216. UnicornMaster says:

    @johnva: Refusing to dispense prescribed (by a doctor) medication is infringing on your rights. What if it were an emergency situation and you’re in the middle of Bible Belt USA and EVERY single pharmacy refuses to dispense X medication, are you expected to drive to a less-holier-than-thou part of the country even though the medication you require is legal?

  217. Tmoney02 says:

    @timsgm1418: I am a Christian, I am pro-life, however I don’t have a problem with birth control, I do have a problem with the drug that causes abortion.

    Are you talking about RU-486 or Plan B, because Plan B does not cause abortions. Please see these posts for accurate info. @johnva @Tmoney02

  218. cef21 says:

    @johnva: What do you consider “emergency contraception”? The last I went to my drug store, I didn’t see the emergency contraception aisle.

    But, of course if it’s Over The Counter, then there are dozens of ways of getting it — no need to go to a pharmacy at all; grocery stores and even gas stations sell OTC medicines.

  219. Speak says:

    @linus: I believe what selectman is saying is that a pharmacist is a pharmacist because he or she has trained for and is licensed to perform a particular job. Even if you pass out pills to your friends, that doesn’t make you a pharmacist. If a pharmacist refuses to abide by the terms of the license, then he or she does not deserve it.

    @utensil42: I’m sorry to hear this happened to you and sorry to see someone belittle you as the victim of a crime.

  220. johnva says:

    @cef21: It is OTC because you don’t need a prescription for it. That doesn’t mean you can get it anywhere or that it will be stocked on shelves in grocery stores and gas stations. Religious right nutjobs lobbied hard to ensure that when it went OTC pharmacists would still be gatekeepers for it. The reason they did this is so that pharmacists could refuse to give it out. The ostensible reason given by the Bush Administration for keeping it behind the counter was so that only people over 18 could get it without a prescription, but they were going against the recommendation of their own science advisors on that. So it was most likely an ideological decision.

    Emergency contraception is any contraceptive used after sex to prevent pregnancy.

  221. BigBillinTN says:

    So a business owner can not sell what he wants and must sell what the state dictates. I believe thats is called…


    1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    2. (sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
    3. (initial capital letter) a fascist movement, esp. the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922-43.

  222. cyr3n says:

    THIS IS HORRENDOUS! I had ovarian cysts and had to be put on birth control to make the cysts shrink. What right does a pharmacist have to override a DOCTORS PRESCRIPTION?! And if they try to ask what its for, that’s a total violation. This pharmacy is way out of line and should be denied their license to do business.

  223. Speak says:

    @cef21: Plan B emergency contraception is only OTC to women ages 18 and older, who must present proof of age at the pharmacy counter. Women under 18 need to have a prescription for it. Also according to this FDA press release, “Distribution of Plan B will only be through licensed drug wholesalers, retail operations with pharmacy services, and clinics with licensed healthcare practitioners, and not through convenience stores or other retail outlets where it could be made available to younger women without a prescription.”

  224. tz says:

    Their job is NOT to “provide health services to the public”. No more than a car dealership is to provide “transportation services to the public”. They sell things. I can’t force the fast food place (providing nutritional services to the public?) to carry coke or pepsi or RC if they don’t want to.

    They also don’t have to give you the prescription if you (or your insurance) isn’t going to pay for it. And yes, it can be life-threatening or something that can send you to the ER.

    If they don’t have something in stock, they aren’t required to have an emergency delivery.

    State licensing is a scam. They make sure barbers know how to do cuts that no one has for 20 years. It limits entry. Like Taxi badges. It ought not be an excuse for forcing or prohibiting something else unless you would like a state to say you can have either a driver’s license or an exotic pet or something silly like that. If you want states to be able to deny you the most basic rights in exchange for getting a license, go ahead, but the slippery slope is very steep.

    The customer’s beliefs might be important, but that doesn’t mean they should override the merchant’s, just because you happen to agree with the customer.

    And in Minnesota, some people like to smoke. But every merchant is forced to stop them smoking if they want to go inside. Control behavior? Who cares about beliefs?

    Should every restaurant have to serve packs of skin-heads with obnoxious SS t-shirts and worse behavior?

    The test should always be would you impose a rule if it was diametrically opposed to your opinion on the same basis. If the state has the power to force dispensing of contraceptives, it has the equal power to ban them. My point is that it should have no such power.

  225. Tmoney02 says:

    While I cant be the official voice for johnva, since we were in agreement earlier I assume my answer will be similar.

    What do you consider “emergency contraception”? Plan-B which needs to be taken ASAP. The sooner it is taken the more likely it will work.
    The last I went to my drug store, I didn’t see the emergency contraception aisle.No, since there is only plan-b it would be a bit much to have a whole isle of it. But I assume you saw the condoms, lube, pregnancy tests, etc. If the FDA had its way the Plan-B would be located next to the trojans. Thus the OTC rating.

    But, of course if it’s Over The Counter, then there are dozens of ways of getting it — no need to go to a pharmacy at all; grocery stores and even gas stations sell OTC medicines.
    Ahh, thats the way the FDA wanted it to be. And all their research said it would have no harm being there and it was unanimously supported by the FDA approval board. Only problem was that the head of the board is a political appointee who can hold up any approval. And the man Bush installed in this position was chosen to appease the political right who wanted to block such decisions. So after a long time getting no where the approval board made a deal. Plan-B gets approved for OTC BUT only for those 18+. Thus the need to see a pharmacist (so they can check your ID) and it being behind the counter.

  226. Tmoney02 says:

    @johnva: You beat me once again. I tip my hat to you.

    So it was most likely an ideological decision. I don’t see how anyone could argue that it wasn’t an ideological decision considering all of the FDA and all the science said the standard OTC rating would be safe and would be in the best interest of everyone.

  227. verazula says:

    @theformatter: Your bias against so-called “cheap crap” and the licensing for these pharmacists are completely different. What happens when these people decide then don’t want to sell anti-depressants or anti-psychotics? Of course, by then, they won’t be in business, but still…they shouldn’t be allowed to choose, and by their agreeing to be pharmacists and dispense drugs, aren’t.

  228. johnva says:

    @Tmoney02: Yep. They failed politically to block OTC Plan B entirely (which was what they really wanted), so their backup position was to put up a bunch of barriers to people obtaining it so that would be less available and less widely used. This is part of why I don’t view this entirely as a free-enterprise, business rights issue. The whole “pharmacist refusal” thing just seems way too coordinated with the high-level lobbying going on within the Bush Administration. People need to make no mistake that if these people oppose Plan B, then they oppose all hormonal birth control, at the very least. There is a very radical agenda being carried out here, and it’s being coordinated with the top levels of the federal government. If they succeed at making abortion unavailable and stigmatized in most places the next target will be birth control, because the religious right opposes it almost as much.

    Remember: Plan B is the SAME THING as the regular pill, only it’s packaged to take a high dose as a one-time event. If Plan B is vulnerable to this sort of thing, all birth control is vulnerable.

  229. For those who believe that the store can use their personal feelings on who they should sell to..

    Would you feel the same way if they didn’t allow black people or asian people (or heck, white people)?

  230. johnva says:

    @Phillip M. Vector: I made this point earlier. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that religious people were using the Bible to justify racism (and slavery before that). So should their “sincere religious belief” that blacks shouldn’t eat at the same lunch counter as whites have been respected?

  231. zentex says:

    @nsv: I think you may need to read-up on what ph.D really stands for

  232. Meshuggina says:

    @Voyou_Charmant: [i]Exactly. BUT, if they are a store that does not have a policy and the employee is simply choosing not to sell it, there is an obvious problem and that employee should find a new job.[/i]

    I have to agree with you on that one. I don’t think a CVS should be forced to accommodate someone who doesn’t want to dispense contraception. That’s just silly.

  233. Sanveann says:

    Personally, I’m glad to see stores like this opening up. As one of those crazy-non-birth-control-using Catholics (I’ve used Natural Family Planning for five years, very successfully), I don’t think pharmacists should have to dispense meds that they have a religious objection to. However, I do understand the conflict that creates at most pharmacies.

    So now, these pharmacists have places where they can work without conflict, and those of us who support them can do so by shopping at these pharmacies.

  234. Sanveann says:

    @M3wThr33: The pill can prevent implantation — says right on the insert to most varieties that that is one of its secondary functions. (The primary function is to prevent ovulation, but the secondary functions are thickening of cervical mucus, which can inhibit fertilization, and making the lining of the uterus less hospitable to implantation).

    To people who believe life begins at conception, that qualifies as abortifacient.

  235. dmuth says:

    What’s next? Pharmacists that dislike drug abuse refusing to fill prescriptions for pain killers?

    Who made these people judge and jury of patient care?

  236. Meshuggina says:

    @Phillip M. Vector: I can understand the parallel that you’re drawing, but I think this situation is a little different. If you’re preventing certain ethnicities from purchasing items at your store, it has social ramifications that exceed the fact that someone didn’t get to buy birth control.

  237. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: The belief that “life begins at conception” is completely indefensible. A clump of cells is not a baby, especially before implantation.

    Interestingly, I’ve read that NFP may actually increase the number of naturally aborted embryos relative to using hormonal birth control or a barrier method. The reason is that you may have more fertilized eggs while using it, and of course a large percentage of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant. I’ve always found the idea that NFP is okay, but condoms aren’t, one of the more illogical parts of Catholic beliefs (their wrongheaded stance on birth control is one of the reasons I’m an ex-Catholic).

  238. Optimus says:

    @ARP: Sorry, normally I read all the comments before commenting, but did you even read what you typed before clicking submit?

    “For example, they shouldn’t certain antibiotics since there’s no such thing as antibiotic-resistant strains because bacteria can’t become antibiotic resistant.”

    I think I see what you’re trying to say here… but you’re comparing not helping someone have sex without getting pregnant to not treating a disease because because of a disagreement in how it came to exist…

    Do you have any idea how stupid that sounds?

  239. dragonvpm says:

    @tz: Then what would you call the fact that they are tasked with providing medicine, controlled substances, etc… to the public?

    All this time we’ve been debating how they DON’T have to provide medicine if they don’t agree with it, but what if they decided that the current drug laws were too strict? What it they decided to start dispensing whatever they wanted regardless of what the prescription said? It’s easy to argue for something when you don’t look at all applications, but seriously, do you want to do business with a pharmacist who can give you anything they want based on their strongly held beliefs?

    Furthermore, wrt state licensing, have you ever held a license for anything other than driving? I do, and I can tell you it’s not just a barrier to entry. For example, to get my plumbing license I had to demonstrate an understanding of how cross connections can happen and why that’s bad. Think about how much fun you’d have without that rubber stamp which makes it less likely someone will connect your sewer to your water supply. Don’t believe it can happen? It still does happen when clever, unlicensed people come up with some way to kludge a system together. My brother has a cosmetology license and guess what, a big part of the licensing there has to do with hygiene. Perhaps it’s a novel concept to some folks, but it’s something most people would probably like their hair stylists or barbers to know.

    Why should pharmacists be any different? Do you really have such a poor grasp of STDs and birth control that you don’t know that active disinformation about the benefits of using those products could create a significant public health problem? If your rubber stamp licensed pharmacist decides that he doesn’t believe in birth control and aside from not selling it, he also starts giving people his personal take on how it’s really not all that good or reliable (in the hopes of making people abstain which is pretty much par for the course with many abstinence only programs today) guess what, he could directly contribute to helping someone make a decision that could kill them. Or it could help cause unwanted pregnancies, abortions etc…

    Sounds like a great situation. Let licensed pharmacists dispense (or not) whatever they want regardless of what our prescriptions say because they really really believe something. Yeah, that’s a health system i want to be part of.

  240. johnva says:

    @Meshuggina: So now it’s all about whether we think the “social ramifications” are too great? That sounds suspiciously like a matter of opinion to me. Anyway, I think his point is a good one. The fact is, people make up all kinds of subjective opinions all the time and start calling them “religious beliefs”. Since religion is not empirically verifiable, anyone can claim any prejudice, political opinion, idea, etc they want is a religious belief and no one can disprove that or contradict it. This is why I think it’s a dangerous road to go down to start making public policy that forces business, etc to respect and accommodate religious beliefs.

  241. johnva says:

    Interesting article: []. This talks a little bit about how up to 80% of fertilized embryos are spontaneously aborted by women’s bodies.

  242. Kitteridge says:

    As always, I like to point out that “pro-life” is not the right word for these people. The correct phrase is “anti-choice.” No one in their right mind is “anti-life,” so “pro-life” has no meaning.

    What they are, in fact, is against the choice of the individual to decide what is right for themselves. We should start using “anti-choice” rather than “pro-life” for that reason.

  243. OneMHz says:

    @Meshuggina: I was with a girl for a long time. She had a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome. She had lots of cysts on her ovaries. If one burst, it was like being kicked, stabbed and shot in the stomach. The only effective treatment for this was birth control pills. Can you tell me that’s an inconvenience? Not necessary? Then you’re a true humanitarian.

  244. donopolis says:

    All fine and dandy if they would like to open stores that are run like this…

    but, they should not be called pharmacies as that would be deceptive advertising.



  245. Sanveann says:

    @johnva: Well, obviously a lot of very educated and very intelligent people disagree exactly on when life begins :) I personally do believe it begins at conception, because I don’t see at what other point you could make an argument for “OK, now it’s a life!” But my purpose wasn’t really to debate the beginnings of life … just to point out why some people feel hormonal birth control can be abortifacient.

    Incidentally, I have to disagree that NFP results in more aborted/nonimplanted embryos. NFP works because you’re not supposed to have sex at all during the woman’s fertile time, which thus greatly reduces the chances of conception. If you don’t conceive, there’s no embryo to implant.

    But even if your argument IS true, the difference would be in the intent. (I’ve also heard this argument used against breastfeeding — because that can make embryos less likely to implant. But the intent there is to feed your baby, not to prevent implantation of another one.)

    As for why NFP is different than condoms, I don’t know how interested you are in actually reading about the theology behind it all … but if you Google “difference between nfp and artificial birth control,” you’ll find numerous articles on the topic :)

  246. Wubbytoes says:

    Wow, what a bunch of jerks.

  247. thalia says:

    Uh, how does birth control promote divorce? Or what about all those kids you see with poor families that have absolutely nothing, or the children who are abused because their parents weren’t ready to start a family or never wanted them in the first place? Way to guy, pharmacists. You’re really making the world a better place (/sarcasm)

    I take birth control because I have severe dysmenhorria that gives me excruciating pain and sometimes even fainting spells during the week of my cycle, so I have to take bc if I don’t want to miss several days of work a month. If someone denied me birth control because they had a holier-than-thou attitude, I’d be VERY pissed.

  248. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: That’s a good point about the intent. My only point is that if you’re just going by the number of fertilized eggs that fail to implant, you would actually have to study the issue in detail to see which results in fewer of those. My guess is that the methods which actually prevent ovulation result in the lowest number of those. And along the lines of what you’re saying about intent, most people that use hormonal birth control, including Plan B, do not “intend” to create fertilized embryos and prevent them from implanting. What they mostly intend is to prevent ovulation, while the secondary mode of action is what is being used by some people to claim that hormonal birth control methods are “abortifacent”.

    Given the number of spontaneously rejected fertilized ova, I think there is a good reason the medical community defines pregnancy as beginning once implantation occurs rather than at conception.

    As for the Catholics, I apologize if I came off a little disrespectful earlier. I’ve actually read quite a bit about their theological reasoning, and I think their arguments are nonsense and draw lines very arbitrarily. I’ve read the Catechism, papal encyclicals, etc, and I think that they made up this position solely to reinforce other Catholic beliefs and enforce social conservatism. Their arguments seem very illogical to me.

  249. VeryPlainJane says:

    I can’t wait till the Jehovah Witness healthcare workes can start to refuse to give blood products to people…. I can hear it now, “Sorry your loved one died, but I don’t believe in giving blood products and neither should you!”

  250. This saddens me greatly, as this sort of religious zealot is exactly who I want using as much birth control as possible.

    That said, I have no problem with these folks running their pharmacy the way they want, based upon their beliefs. I would have issues if it were a hospital denying a certain class of people a life-saving treatment, but birth control is hardly a life-or-death product, and can be obtained virtually everywhere. I would be very troubled if the government made any move to control this.

    @chartrule: “pharmacist have no business pushing their views or personal beliefs on others”. Your plainly stupid statement actually (no doubt accidentally) contains a good point: the pharmacist will literally “have no business” if it pushes its beliefs on potential customers. Folks will vote with their wallets, as they should always do. Unless sex for fun somehow goes out of vogue, I think people will take their business to pharmacies that will enable it.

  251. richcreamerybutter says:

    @linus: Thank goodness your friend was fired. She has no business as a medical professional.

    It’s amazing that some of you think it’s “no big deal” if one of these nutbags tries to take away your prescription. Only in the good ol’ U S of A do we have a first world country trying to impose third world conditions on a segment of its population…women. It’s condescending, as if women don’t know how to take their own goddammed prescriptions.

    Show me an example of a medication taken only by men that some pharmacists are praised for withholding.

    Also, I have 2 prescriptions for skin conditions that should not be taken by those planning to conceive. Are these asshats going to deny these on the basis that I appear to be of childbearing age?

  252. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Sanveann: Again, their objective is not to provide a “haven” for those sharing the same beliefs. If it was, they would prominently display their sentiments on the door, along with directions to the closest place that will do so.

    No, they simply want to shame and admonish women to try to fill these prescriptions. As I’ve said before, if they try to pull this with me they will be in serious trouble.

  253. Penz says:

    Why is their choice such a big issue? Why is ‘pro-choice’ the greatest thing only when others agree with our choice? Why aren’t others free to make a different choice? Because then it’s not pro-choice, right? I say let’s be pro-choice on everything, free speech, equal rights, women’s rights, even paying taxes.

  254. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Sanveann: I don’t think pharmacists should have to dispense meds that they have a religious objection to

    Interesting. Do you have the same degree of respect for ALL religious beliefs, or just ones that are like yours?

    For example, I’m sure you support the rights of Muslim cab drivers to refuse to allow seeing-eye dogs into their cabs [] And their right to refuse transportation to anyone who has been drinking, or anyone carrying a bottle of liquor in their grocery bags []

    I’m sure you’ll be one of the voices explaining why it’s OK for a cop to refuse to guard the Israeli embassy [] or refuse to perform his police duties in a casino []

    I’m sure you would gladly defend a Scientologist pharmacist when he refused to dispense anti-depressants, or any other “psychiatric” drug he objected to, to someone in your family. You’d just go to another pharmacy, right? I’ll bet that’s what they do in Clearwater, FL.

    When a Jewish pharmacist refused to give your mother her thyroid medicine because it wasn’t kosher you would thank him for being so morally upright, yes? And when your vegetarian orderly refuses to serve you your lunch in your hospital room because it has animal products, you’ll just politely ask for a different orderly, and wait patiently until they come.

    When a vegan pharmacist tells you he won’t fill your childs prescription for INSULIN because it’s an animal product, you won’t say “CVS ought to fire that guy” – no, you’ll be happy that they’re honoring his “right to conscience.” If it’s past 9 pm would you wait until morning to get that insulin for your kid, or would you drive 30 miles to the next nearest 24 hour pharmacy and hope their pharmacist is a little less of a moralistic tightass?

    If someone has a moral or religious objection to performing the duties required by a certain job, they shouldn’t be doing that job. If they take the job anyway, then there’s no fucking excuse for them to fail to fulfill their obligations.

    A pharmacist who who refuses to dispense certain medicines because of “moral objections” deserves exactly the same treatment as a vegetarian who goes to work for McDonald’s and then refuses to sell hamburgers.

  255. DjDynasty says:

    Pharmacists should do their job, and follow the doctors orders, otherwise they’ll be moved back to the camera counter!

  256. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: This is why I think it’s a dangerous road to go down to start making public policy that forces business, etc to respect and accommodate religious beliefs.

    Sorry, don’t know the quote tag.

    That should also be the same motivation to avoid public policy forcing people to accommodate ‘irreligious’ beliefs.

    Also, it’s pretty easy to spot the “made-up” religious beliefs; but most of the monotheistic religions have been around for thousands of years and are hardly made up. Many of the principles and laws that exist in the Western world are based in judeo-christian ideals.

    I’d rather there be “BC-Free” pharmacies that allow pharmacists to practice according to their conscience than have one or two nutters start dispensing aspirin or a placebo in place of birth control when my wife needs it. The best way for this to happen is to follow the law as it exists and let them open their stores that don’t stock certain products.

  257. richcreamerybutter says:

    I’ve noticed a lot of men while sympathetic (and this is appreciated), still maintain the gov’t has no business regulating such issues. If you’ve ever owned a uterus and needed the morning-after pill, I bet you’d be singing a different tune.

  258. Sanveann says:

    @richcreamerybutter: Well, I do think it would be fair for these pharmacies to have some sort of sign letting people know they don’t stock contraceptives — either on the front door or at the pharmacy counter.

    However, I disagree that their goal is to “shame and admonish women.” As I stated above, I don’t use artificial birth control for religious reasons. I have never, ever tried to “shame or admonish” ANYONE who believes any differently, nor have any of my friends who don’t use ABC. If someone asks me why I don’t use birth control, I explain my reasons to them, let them know I’m happy to answer any questions they may have about NFP, and leave it at that.

  259. Xerloq says:

    @richcreamerybutter: Medications for men withheld from men or withheld from women? Not sure what you mean here.

    Government forbid people get their feelings hurt. What seriously would you do if a pharmacist refused your prescription? I can understand calling the police if they won’t give back the written order, but giving them “serious trouble” only validates their position – at least in their mind.

    The worst trouble you can cause is making them go out of business, and you do that by going to a different pharmacy.

  260. Sanveann says:

    @TinyBug: I believe you missed part of my post. I ALSO said that I can see why conflict would arise from that pharmacist’s decision, and that’s why I think it’s a good idea to have pharmacies like the ones in this article. People who went there would know that they couldn’t get contraceptives, and pharmacists would know that they wouldn’t be asked to dispense them.

    Personally, I’m of the belief that a pharmacist shouldn’t have to fill a medication that conflicts with his/her beliefs — whether they’re mine or someone else’s. (And yes, that goes for other professions, too.)

    However, my personal feeling is that a pharmacist who is morally opposed to a particular kind of medication should understand that this may be limiting to his/her career and should probably expect to work only at places that agree with his/her faith (for example, Catholic hospitals or pro-life pharmacies) or at larger pharmacies that will always have more than one person on staff, so that the other pharmacist can dispense the prescription.

  261. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: There is very little public policy in place forcing accommodation of irreligious beliefs. There is policy requiring religious neutrality on the part of the government and some private entities (including neutrality towards disbelief in religion), but that’s not the same thing as making an allowance accommodating someone’s irreligious beliefs. Most people who don’t believe in religion don’t go around proselytizing and trying to force everyone else to conform to their views.

    Monotheistic religions, while they have a long social tradition, are still entirely unverifiable empirically. And the mere fact that the religion itself is old does not mean that all the views typically held by its adherents are old. The view that life begins at fertilization (and NOT implantation), or that hormonal birth control is wrong are very new, because we didn’t have the knowledge to create or understand those things in the past. So Christians just made up those beliefs in the past few hundred years. Now you can argue that they were drawing on a religious tradition, but people still just came to those conclusions based on their own interpretation of their religion (or their obedience to religious authorities who made up those interpretations).

    I don’t believe the best way to accomplish what you’re saying is to allow fundamentalist Christians to set up a parallel health care system at all. I believe the best way would be to punish pharmacists who don’t do their job.

  262. selectman says:

    @TinyBug: +1!

  263. Xerloq says:

    @TinyBug: You’re just off center from the issue. In every one of the cases you cited, the action taken by the cab driver, policeman, etc. is illegal or against the organizational policy. The cabbies can lose their licenses, the cop can be fired.

    There is no law requiring the pharmacy to stock any medication simply because it is legal to sell that medication – only that the pharmacies direct women to sources of medication if they do not dispense it. The article describes pharmacists opening stores to comply both with the law and their conscience, which I’m fully in support of.

  264. drjayphd says:

    @Kitteridge: THANK YOU. The debate over abortion revolves around offering options, not requiring abortions. “Pro-life” is just a misleading label.

    @richcreamerybutter: Which would probably be good practice for these pharmacies, if they’re interested in appearing legitimate: let customers know before they come in that they won’t fill BC prescriptions, etc., as well as directions to one that will. I don’t think anyone can reasonably argue that pharmacies who, as a matter of company practice, won’t dispense BC have a good reason to specifically not post that information, while there’s a compelling reason to post it.

    Of course, I think most of us can agree that pharmacists who decide on their own to not only not fill BC prescriptions, but also to confiscate the damn things have no place in the business…

    @TinyBug: If someone has a moral or religious objection to performing the duties required by a certain job, they shouldn’t be doing that job. If they take the job anyway, then there’s no fucking excuse for them to fail to fulfill their obligations.

    And that says it all, doesn’t it? In my job, I can’t refuse to, say, publish Little League results because I never made it above tee-ball. If you’re not prepared to fill the basic requirements of your job, whatever it is, then why the hell are you doing it?

  265. Sanveann says:

    @johnva: Well, in its barrier form, birth control has been around for millennia (and has always been opposed by the RCC). So there’s really no reason that the RCC should have felt any differently about hormonal birth control, once it came along :)

  266. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: Just curious to understand your reasoning: why, exactly, do you think is it a pharmacist’s moral responsibility what people do with the prescriptions? After all, it’s not the pharmacist making the decision to use artificial birth control or the morning after pill or whatever; it’s the patient. So how is it the pharmacist’s moral responsibility to stop someone else from doing something they consider immoral? I could extend this same logic to indirectly participating in almost anything I consider immoral. For example, I find a ton of things that the U.S. government does with the taxes I pay incredibly immoral, like unprovoked wars of aggression. But I pay them anyway, because I don’t have a choice. So since they force me to pay taxes that go towards programs I think are immoral, it’s no longer my moral problem. I can vote for people who want to reverse the things the government does that I think are immoral, but I can’t do much more than that, so my responsibility ends there. If a pharmacist is given a prescription, how is that any different morally, in your opinion? They are being asked to do something on behalf of someone else, not for their opinion on whether birth control is moral or not. And they don’t really have a choice in who gets prescribed birth control or not. Moreover, they have no idea why a particular person is taking it. Plenty of people who are not even sexually active take birth control pills to regulate their hormones and control conditions like PCOS.

    I guess what I’m getting at is this: if a law were passed requiring all pharmacists to fill birth control prescriptions, wouldn’t that take any moral culpability out of the pharmacists’ hands?

  267. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: I think you got my point: the power of tradition is huge. Building on that – people have linked their beliefs to tradition makes that belief more important in their mind.

    Secondly, you can’t give one side policy protection and not grant it to the other. So you have to take the middle of the road:

    There is no law requiring the pharmacy to stock any medication simply because it is legal to sell that medication – only that the pharmacies direct women to sources of medication if they do not dispense it. The article describes pharmacists opening stores to comply both with the law and their conscience, which I’m fully in support of.

    @TinyBug: You’re just off center from the issue. In every one of the cases you cited, the action taken by the cab driver, policeman, etc. is illegal or against the organizational policy. The cabbies can lose their licenses, the cop can be fired.

  268. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: But why would they just arbitrarily decide that “life begins at conception”, as opposed to say, implantation? We didn’t understand the difference until fairly recently relative to the origin of Christianity, because we didn’t have the technology to study exactly how pregnancy works. The fact is, the church authorities just arbitrarily made up that particular piece of doctrine. Like I said, a lot of Catholic doctrines exist purely to reinforce or support other Catholic doctrines. That makes the RCC a little more internally coherent than a lot of other Christian churches, but it also makes them more inflexible and more prone to coming to absurd conclusions.

  269. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: If you apply the reasoning promoted on the “don’t be a pharmacist if you’re not going to do your job” side, you should move to a country that supports your moral beliefs, which is a kind of ridiculous notion.

  270. says:

    what about married couples? even if you’re pro life (like myself), birth control is a little different from an abortion.

  271. says:

    @TinyBug: what you said would have been better without the pompous undertones

  272. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: Or just don’t be a pharmacist if you don’t want to do the things that being a pharmacist involves. What I think we really need is more tolerance of everyone’s differences of opinion. People should try not to place themselves in situations where they are going to frequently come into conflict with other people over their religious beliefs. In other words, people should use common sense in choosing a career path.

    The problem in this case is that there are a significant number of religious people going into pharmacy in order to use that position as a sort of religious activism. There are organizations actively promoting that. So I think that’s what’s causing all the conflict.

  273. johnva says: They think you should use natural family planning (or a barrier method, depending on what type of Christian they are), or just not have sex if you don’t want to have more kids. Because they say that sex is only permissible if you are open to procreation. Everyone knows this is absurd and that almost no one in the U.S. actually practices that, but it’s what they’re promoting nonetheless.

  274. Sanveann says:

    @johnva: You do make a good point, about many people not taking the pill for contraceptive purposes. However, my guess is that most pharmacists feel it’s overly intrusive to ask, “Hey, what are you using this for?” and thus decide it’s best to decide not to dispense the pill at all. Because, honestly, the majority of people on it probably DO use it as a contraceptive … though statistics on that would be interesting, no doubt.

    As for what the moral responsibility of the pharmacist is, my feeling is that most of these pharmacists feel that by providing the pill, they are “aiding and abetting,” so to speak, a person in committing what they consider a grave sin.

    To use another example: Say I’m a nurse and am told to assist in performing an abortion. (I’m not a nurse, or in the medical profession at all, FWIW.) I would refuse, because to me, that would be to participate in the commission of a very serious sin. I wouldn’t probe for all the details, because they wouldn’t be my business. I would just decline.

    That said, if I were required by law to perform abortions, I would quit my job and find another career, because I don’t believe that being legally compelled to do something wrong makes it right.

    Like I said before, this is a sticky area. I’ve actually been interested in pharmacy (journalism has lost its charm for me over the years …), but because of my religious beliefs, I will avoid that field and choose another.

  275. mandiejackson says:

    All right! Ortho-TriCyclen on the black market! Can I get an 8-ball of Valtrex while were at it?

  276. Sanveann says:

    @johnva: Well, I wasn’t privy to the decision-making process, but my guess is because that’s when the cells start dividing. At that point, it’s no longer a sperm or an egg … it’s a whole new thingamabob :) (Yes, that’s the scientific term.)

  277. mandiejackson says:

    what about that scene in Magnolia where Julianne Moore’s character cusses out the pharmacy people because the dolt working the counter kept asking her what the hell was wrong with her to have a prescription for so many different medications. I don’t think it’s right for someone else to force THEIR opinions on YOUR method of living. But part of me does wish that underpaid McDonald’s workers would slap the shit out of mothers force-feeding dollar cheeseburgers to their obese children. That I would pay for. I would pull up a lawn chair and crack open a beer.

  278. snoop-blog says:

    Christians kill me. Do those Pharmacist not realize they are “playing God” by selling all the other pills they sell? Or is it okay to play God so long as your pro-longing or creating life?

  279. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: People should try not to place themselves in situations where they are going to frequently come into conflict with other people over their religious beliefs.
    So let them start a Catholic pharmacy, and those needing birth control won’t come into conflict with the pharmacist’s religious beliefs. =) (I know you were talking about the pharmacist’s career choice, but I thought this would be an interesting play on your point.)

    I think, anecdotally, that those fundamentalists that seem to cause problems are in the extreme minority. Not all religious people (especially Christians) can be lumped together as having the same beliefs. I know quite a few highly religious people who have no problem dispensing birth control. US Census describes 80% of the US population having some religious belief/affiliation so it’s not religion as a whole that is the problem.

    I say leave the fundamentalists alone, whether in the Bible-belt or Iraq, as long as they’re not hurting anyone. I don’t see how these pharmacists have physically hurt anyone.

  280. Xerloq says:

    @Sanveann: Agreed. “Just following orders” didn’t protect anyone at Nuremburg, even though their actions were technically supported by the existing laws.

  281. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: Well, it’s not really the pharmacist’s business what someone’s intentions are when they fill a birth control prescription. That’s the patient’s private business, not the pharmacist’s. I guess I just don’t see why they feel a moral responsibility for what other people may or may not possibly be doing with drugs they dispense. I also think that it’s a little bit different a situation from asking someone to participate in performing an abortion, because of the differences in the level of direct involvement and because of the fact that there are non-contraceptive uses of birth control pills. At some point, people need to draw a line between what they consider their own moral responsibility and what they consider the moral responsibility of others. Just to give another absurd example, would a billing clerk who works for a hospital that performs abortions be responsible for abortion if he/she has to sometimes bill for them? What if the clerk doesn’t actually bill for the abortions themselves, but draws a paycheck from a hospital that does earn money for performing abortions? Where do you draw the line? People need to use some common sense.

    You seem to get where I’m coming from on this, in that you seemingly agree that people shouldn’t place themselves in this situation in the first place if they find it morally reprehensible to the point that they can’t do their job. I applaud you for that, at least. I just think that some level of compromise and common sense in career choices is necessary if we want to live in a society where differences of opinion are respected and religious freedom is encouraged. In other words, people should have religious freedom but they should be nice enough not to make things uncomfortable for other people when they exercise that freedom.

  282. Voodoopunk says:

    Why should a private business be forced to carry a product they’d prefer not to? People can quit whining and take their business elsewhere. I’d prefer onion rings with my burger but I’m not going to have a tizzy fit because McDonald’s doesn’t sell them. I’ll just go to Burger King.

  283. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: It’s worth it to point out that not all Christians believe that sex is only for procreation. There are all kinds of Christians, at least 34 major types according to the Census:
    Catholic, Baptist, Protestant-no denomination supplied, Methodist/Wesleyan, Lutheran, Christian-no denomination supplied, Presbyterian, Pentecostal/Charismatic, Episcopalian/Anglican, Mormon/Latter-Day Saints, Churches of Christ, Jehovah’s Witness, Seventh-Day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Holiness/Holy, Congregational/United Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Church of God, Orthodox (Eastern), Evangelical 2, Mennonite, Christian Science, Church of the Brethren, Born Again 2, Nondenominational 2, Disciples of Christ, Reformed/Dutch Reform, Apostolic/New Apostolic, Quaker, Full Gospel, Christian Reform, Foursquare Gospel, Fundamentalist, Salvation Army, Independent Christian Church.

    AFAIK none of them all agree.

  284. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: I’ll leave religious fundamentalists alone once they start leaving me alone, leaving their religion out of the government, and stop acting like I’m a terrible person, or stupid for not sharing their beliefs, the second they find out I’m an agnostic.

    As for the Nuremberg comparison, almost no one actually thinks that dispensing birth control pills is on par with participating in the murder of millions of adult human beings. I know some of them are crazy enough to make comparisons between abortion and the Holocaust, but I think that’s a very tasteless and insensitive comparison that minimizes the true horror of the Nazi regime by comparing it to something as trivial as giving someone else pills that they might use for contraception and that might, as a secondary effect, result in some fertilized eggs not implanting. Anyone who makes that comparison is a lunatic, in my opinion.

  285. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: Sure. There are many types of Christian, and a lot of them have non-crazy beliefs on this. That’s not the type of Christian we’re talking about when we’re talking about people who go and open “pro-life pharmacies” or deny people their prescriptions.

  286. Sanveann says:

    @johnva: I understand your point, but from the pharmacist’s POV, they are directly handing someone an item that they are going to use to commit what is, in the eyes of the RCC, a mortal sin. It would be like handing a scalpel to an abortion doctor, to continue with the analogy that I used earlier.

    I don’t think that the billing clerk example is the same thing, because at that point, the abortion has already happened.

    I do agree with you that a person who’s morally opposed to birth control (or any other medication) needs to enter this profession with caution.

    Btw, I’m delighted at how civil this whole thread has been :)

  287. Sanveann says:

    @Xerloq: Technically, Catholics don’t believe that sex is only for procreation, but the RCC does teach that each marital act must be “open to life” (that is, you can’t do anything artificial to prevent conception). So it’s fine to have sex just for fun :)

  288. oldheathen says:

    Unclean! Unclean! Reminds me of the pharmacists in the 80s who refused to dispense medication to people they presumed to have AIDS – I personally know of one who was disciplined by Walgreens for donning rubber gloves before handing the man his prescription and accepting his money.

    This pharmacy can abide by the law and their contract or it seems to me they should be able to privatize completely – that means no authorization for Medicare, Medicaid, VA, etc. payments. You can’t have it both ways, morans.

  289. Sanveann says:

    @oldheathen: I’m not aware that there’s any law compelling pharmacists to dispense any medication in particular.

  290. Xerloq says:

    @johnva: Hope you’re not calling me a lunatic. (I apologize if you took offense.)

    The comparison, however, is useful to illustrate the point that simple legality does not equal morality, nor does a consensus of opinion equal morality. Hypothetically, if all 80% of the religious people in the country came to consensus and changed the law so that birth control was illegal universally would that make it morally right? If they changed the constitution requiring a national religion, would that make it morally right?

    For these pharmacists, the fact that it is legal to sell birth control is equitable to aiding murder. Whether a zygote or whole population, they see it all as life, and all as murder. We may not agree, but to be able to co-exist without blowing each other up, we have to learn to get along.

    The government needs to stay out of legislating morality simply because it is subjective. Consensus cannot be obtained. Just ignore the fundamentalists.

  291. Optimus says:

    @johnva: Actually there is Old Testament evidence to suggest that God does not consider a fetus to be equal to a human life.

    Exodus 21:22-23
    22 And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow; he shall be surely fined, according as the woman’s husband shall lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.
    23 But if any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

    I understand the aversion to abortion, as it is uncertain exactly when a fetus becomes a human being, with a soul. I’d say it becomes a human being when it has DNA that differs from it’s host’s, but the closest the Bible comes to suggesting the onset of a soul is in Genesis when God breaths the “breath of life” into Adam.

    But, one of the things I’ve never understood is where in the Bible it was said that you must not block a pregnancy. The closest I’ve ever found was:

    Genesis 38:9-10.
    9 And Onan knew that the seed would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest he should give seed to his brother.
    10 And the thing which he did was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and he slew him also.

    Perhaps I am wrong, but I find it rather clear that Onan was disobeying the tenants of the Law that required that the next oldest unmarried brother marry the widow in order to provide children for the older brother’s lineage. It is later found in the Bible that this was so that the lineage between Abraham and Christ would remain Israeli.

    But this one passage does not show God angry over the blocking of the pregnancy. It shows God angry at deliberate disobedience.

  292. katylostherart says:

    when you put your own beliefs before a patient’s right to medical treatment you are in the wrong business.

  293. katylostherart says:

    @Optimus: the blocking a pregnancy refers back to the first commandment “go forth and multiply” generally.

  294. Xerloq says:

    @Sanveann: Sanveann, regarding civility, you should read the comments a few pages ago, though I agree this is abnormal, and out of character – especially for the Consumerist.

    On your point about recreational sex: I did not mean to imply that I understand any church’s beliefs, I was merely trying to define the group in question. Simply referring to the pharmacists as “pro-life” seemed too broad. I’m sure there are many pro-lifers who enjoy sex for fun.

    I believe that most people are (or can be) rational. Once we understand the issue and the law we should be able to find the solution (as a society).

    Until it becomes a legal requirement to stock birth control, there is no way to force pharmacists to sell it. They are allowed to open a shop that doesn’t stock it. No need for religious lectures, no need to compromise beliefs.

  295. Xerloq says:

    @Optimus: Interesting analysis. I had a whole other comment lined up, but I’ll not share it here.

    On another note, and Johnva stated, many beliefs are much more recent than the Bible. But I don’t think you’re going to convince people by appealing to the scriptures. Thank Gutenberg for starting that debate.

  296. battra92 says:

    @Optimus: As far as Onan, you are correct. At least that’s how we studied it. It’s more about disobedience in how God wanted Onan’s brother to have an heir

    @Sanveann: As a Methodist we were told, “So long as you are married to each other go forth and have it any which way to Sunday as often as you want.”

  297. CyberSkull says:

    What. The. ****. Is wrong with these people? It’s not like we are talking about cigarettes or alcohol, both known to cause harm and needing no special training to sell. The stores need a big sign out front saying “NO BIRTH CONTROL SOLD HERE”.

  298. johnva says:

    @Xerloq: I wasn’t trying to call you a lunatic, but I do find it a bit offensive when people make comparisons between the Holocaust and what I view as mere contemporary political issues. I think it waters down the power of that comparison. That’s all :)

    As for consensus and the like, I think what all of this debate boils down to is how religious freedom can be integrated into a pluralistic society where people are allowed to disagree with each other. I think the continued existence of religious freedom requires religious tolerance and compromise as the other side of the same coin. When people go out of their way to create conflict over religion, as pharmacists who go into the profession as a form of religious activism do, then they endanger their own religious freedoms. The result of this sort of thing will probably be laws restricting certain religious freedoms (ie, the freedom not to dispense birth control) in some states, because the public and the government will react against this sort of aggressive activism. So religious people should just leave each other alone and try not to intentionally piss off people who disagree with them, and everything will go smoother. I actually think the vast majority of religious people DO use common sense and don’t do this sort of thing. It’s the fundamentalists and social activists who are causing the problem, and I’m not convinced that their beliefs are compatible with pluralism or democracy. They are, in essence, ruining it for everyone.

  299. Sanveann says:

    @Xerloq: Oh, I knew you weren’t implying anything! The topic had just come up, and I thought I would clarify the RCC’s position … probably wasn’t best directed at your post, though.

  300. Sanveann says:

    @battra92: Apparently, though, it says elsewhere in the Bible that there’s a -different- punishment for disobeying that particular Levirate law (the widow was to go to the elders, and if he still refused her, she could publicly humiliate him). That’s the basis for the belief that Onan was struck dead for contracepting, rather than for disobedience.

    This article explains the argument: []

  301. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Xerloq: Medications for men withheld from men or withheld from women? Not sure what you mean here.

    If there were medications that were prescribed to men only (despite some recreational experimentation by women, let’s use Viagra as an example), and if some pharmacists decided not to dispense on “moral” grounds, people wouldn’t stand for it. Since these controversial medications are for women only, it doesn’t receive as much attention as it would if the medication in question was intended for everyone.

  302. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Sanveann: I’m not saying you do personally. Unfortunately, not all pro-lifers (and I’ll grant you the courtesy of this title) are not like you; note the classy images on the Pharmacists for Life website: []

    They only get worse.

  303. Sanveann says:

    @richcreamerybutter: Yeah, that’s pretty brutal (not to mention polarizing — no one who sees that is going to be open to listening to what they have to say, IMHO).

    I -do- think doctors need to be more upfront about the possibility of the pill preventing implantation so that women can make a fully informed decision as to whether or not they’re comfortable taking it. When I found out, I was absolutely shocked, as were all of my friends. I know several women who asked their OB/GYNs if the pill could prevent implantation and were told, “No, not at all.” But the insert says differently.

  304. BytheSea says:

    And they’ll prolly thrive, because they’ll be patronized by old people who spend tens of thousands in medical products a year. Each.

  305. Ein2015 says:

    We need a list of all these places, so that way we know where NOT to shop EVER.

  306. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Sanveann: And just so you know, I fully respect yours and others’ personal beliefs on this issue. When it affects my personal future, however, that’s unacceptable.

    Although it is ill advised for people against abortion or birth control to consider this career path in the future, if you are currently a pharmacist with these beliefs and you see no other way around your conscience, then use that conscience to usher in a gradual change in policy. Include signs and pamphlets WELL IN ADVANCE of the date in which you decide to no longer offer these medications. Be very specific in which meds you are and are not offering, and make sure all your customers with these prescriptions know where to go if they do need them, complete with maps.

    In every instance I’ve heard so far, it’s unfortunately been a bait and switch situation.

  307. nsv says:

    @zentex: I didn’t say Ph.D. I said PharmD. Nice try, though.

  308. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Sanveann: Well at least we can agree that both sides need to be clear and upfront. :)

  309. johnva says:

    @Sanveann: Doctors may not be informed about the issue, and I agree that they should give out accurate information. That being said, I don’t think the scientific data on this is exactly settled. From what I’ve read, I don’t think they are too sure of the exact frequency with which the pill works via different modes of action. It probably also varies a lot from person to person. For some people, the pill is consistently very effective at preventing all ovulation. For others, not so much, and those people probably have a higher rate of this happening.

    And while doctors are talking about this stuff with people, they should probably also inform women about the other facts I mentioned earlier in this thread, like the fact that 80% of human embryos may fail to implant naturally even without taking any artificial contraceptive. That information might also be relevant to whether people think this slight possibility of the pill preventing implantation is important to them, especially since this latter fact means that it’s hard to be sure that a particular fertilized egg failed to implant because of the pill or simply because it would have failed to implant anyway.

  310. Sanveann says:

    @richcreamerybutter: I completely agree that a “bait and switch” is a bad idea. All it does is piss off people. No one is going to leave the pharmacy going, “Hmmm, I wonder why they’re not selling the pill anymore — I should look into that.” They’re going to leave saying, “Those jerks! Now I have to go all the way across town to Rite-Aid and wait in line half an hour there! Who do they think they are?”

    I would like to see these pharmacies post a sign up front saying, “XYZ Pharmacy does not sell contraceptives. Please take a pamphlet if you’d like to know more about our reasons. Other pharmacies in the area, including ABC and DEF, provide these items.” I think that would engender a lot more good will.

  311. cadet526 says:

    I completely disagree that anyone’s religious beliefs should interfere with their work. But, should doctors be forced to give abortions? Selling Plan B is the same thing as performing an abortion. Until doctors HAVE to perform abortions, they shouldn’t force pharmacists to.

  312. ghettoimp says:

    I wonder if they’ll sell cigarettes.

  313. johnva says:

    @cadet526: No, selling Plan B is the same thing as providing contraception. It’s not the same thing as performing an abortion, even if you think that a slight chance of preventing implantation of a fertilized egg is the same thing as “abortion” (I don’t think it is, personally). The pharmacist is not actually performing any medical procedure; the patient does that themselves. The pharmacist is just a pill counter in the case of Plan B; in essence, they perform the same role as a grocery store clerk.

  314. I couldn’t read all 300+ comments, but for those of you who say the Pharmacies should sell the drugs or be closed down, are you also of the opinion that an OB/GYN doc has to perform an abortion if requested?

  315. johnva says:

    @hypochondriac: See my comment above. It’s not the same thing.

  316. nsv says:

    @hypochondriac: I am of the opinion that a heart surgeon should perform heart surgery. A brain surgeon should perform brain surgery. A gynecologic surgeon should perform gynecologic surgery. A pharmacist should dispense meds. A letter carrier should deliver the mail. A teacher should teach. None of these ideas are outrageous.

    If you don’t want to deliver mail, don’t work for the Post Office. If you don’t want to dispense meds, don’t become a pharmacist.

    I might be delighted if my grandparents’ mailman would decide to start intercepting all the garbage “miracle cure” mail that they receive, booklets that promise to tell them how to use vinegar to cure arthritis and cancer for only three easy payments of $29.99, that my grandmother would fall victim to if she controlled the checkbook. But he doesn’t have the right to intercept ANY mail. If that mail is a real problem it should be addressed in a different way. If it’s illegal, we should investigate and prosecute the senders.

    If a medication is legal, the pharmacist has no more right to prevent access to it than the mailman has the right to intercept mail.

  317. Craysh says:

    Wow, lots of hypocrites here. If it were anything else most of you would be up in arms if someone suggested that the government mandate what a store should sell.
    I’d be more concerned if there was a monopoly involved, but there isn’t, you can just go down the street to a different pharmacy.
    Imagine if you went to a health food store and you wanted the cheaper milk that most supermarkets provide. Well, they only offer non-hormone, non-treated milk. Well, you wouldn’t get all up in arms and demand the government take away their license for that would you?

    Exactly how all situations like this should be approached. If you don’t like what a company does, go to a different one. Don’t get the government involved.

    Why? Because they don’t want to sell something and you disagree with it? Who gets to decide what should be forced to be sold in a store?

    No, a store with a certain view. An agenda would be them forcing their views on you, which they can’t do if you simply decide to move on to a different pharmacy.

    Those kind of drugs are usually dispensed in more liberal stores anyway :P

    @ speedwell
    Actually, the only requirements to be a pharmacist are:
    # be of good moral character;
    # be at least 21 years of age;
    # meet education, examination, and experience requirements; and
    # be a United States citizen or alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the United States (Alien Registration Card /USCIS I-551 Status – “Green Card”).
    There are no requirements to carry certain drugs. A lot of phramacies also don’t carry certain steroids, or hormone replacements, or narcotics. The only differences in licensing is what you can sell, not what you have to sell.
    What if a pharmacy sees that a person has two doctors (a back specialist and a OBGYN) and sees that two prescriptions would interact adversly to each other. Are they still compelled in your mind to fill those prescriptions?

    They regulate what you CAN sell, not what you MUST sell.

    @Mary Marsala with Fries
    I’m sure they’d decline to sell the birth control to men as well as women.

  318. Techguy1138 says:


    No. A doctor should preform a abortion if requested.

    However if after a through medical examination and consideration of the case the doctor deems abortion is the best medical policy then they are required to do the operation if competent.

    If a patient walks into a drugstore with a doctors prescription they should fill it or provide the patient with tools to do so as long as there is no MEDICAL reason to do so. They can call a doctor to confirm this.

    Why is this concept so difficult for people to get through their heads? Why when it comes to womens reproductive rights do people think all of a sudden MD’s were handed out with happy meals?

    A pharmacist has one job to do. Ensure that the medicines a doctors prescribes are safely dispensed and possible drug interactions are caught. If they can not provide that service they need to provide information that will allow a patient to follow their DOCTORS instructions.

    This is a medical issue plain and simple.

  319. Craysh says:

    I agree to your abortion belief, but only if it’s a life-or-death situation. Otherwise it should be the doctors discretion since he can simply refer you to another doctor.

  320. Ixnayer says:

    If you don’t like the way a company does business, don’t do business with them. The state doesn’t have an obligation to ensure they dispense all medications! Well maybe a communist state. All you damn commies who want the government to regulate everything are ignorant. Let a business decided what it wants to sell and not sell. If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Plain and simple!

  321. nsv says:


    We’ve seen an alarming development of pharmacists over the last several years refusing to fill prescriptions, and sometimes even taking the prescription from the woman and refusing to give it back to her so she can fill it in another pharmacy.

    I could be wrong, but I’m guessing these pharmacies don’t have signs posted which say “If you try to fill a prescription that we don’t like, we’ll confiscate it.” If they did, it would be easy to make the decision to go to a different pharmacy.

  322. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    I’m going to open the Biblical Pharmacy Chain. Yep. No birth control, viagra (or other ED treatments), no heart medication, no anti-convulsion meds (they’re just possessed anyway), no cancer meds, no antibiotics (especially the new ones, there’s no evolution anyway). Heck, it’ll be cheap to run because I’ll just dictate that any drug is against “God’s Plan” or “God’s Will.”

    I won’t hang up any warning signs and then just burst into scripture. This especially if they’re trying to have kids artificially, like the spawn won’t be the dominion of Satan. (remember, churches used to consider that an abomination against God because it took the creation of life from God and “cheapened” it)

    I had a girlfriend for a couple of years with poly-cystic ovarian disease that became so debilitating she literally had to stay home from school. That’s the way it was until she was 18, then she went to college. One doctor visit later (along with a prescription for a Tri-Phasic BC pill) and magically she didn’t have that problem. Her parents, religious nuts, excused her from school for medical grounds 3-5 days a month rather than put their precious daughter on birth control. That’s how farking nuts people are.

    I won’t go so far as to say they should be forced to sell it. However I will go so far to say they should have to post a sign and be unable to sell any kind of ED medication if they refuse. God’s will states that man is unable to copulate with his wife! God Wills It So. Man should be unable to change that. Burn the heathen pharmacy that provides it!

  323. pigeonpenelope says:

    umm…. birth control, like Plan B, do not make you shed an already fertilized egg. they help you get rid of it before it becomes fertilized. should you be too late and you take it, the pill isn’t going to work.

    birth control pills, like the kind I take, Yasmin, do nothing close to abortion because they stop my body from ovulating by making it think I’m pregnant.

    by the pharmacists standards, I would be aborting a baby every time I have a period. the logic does not stand.

    that said, if the pharmacist is do dumb they can’t see logic, I personally do not want them filling my prescription. if they don’t understand how medicines work, i wouldn’t want their help with my medicines.

  324. Tmoney02 says:

    @Xerloq: “I say leave the fundamentalists alone, whether in the Bible-belt or Iraq, as long as they’re not hurting anyone. I don’t see how these pharmacists have physically hurt anyone.”

    I agree we should leave them alone. But they should leave everyone else alone as well. Becoming pregnant from not receiving plan-B is worse than hurting someone. It not only physically injures (in a sense) the women but can facilitate the creation of an unwanted life as well.

    @cadet526: “Selling Plan B is the same thing as performing an abortion. Until doctors HAVE to perform abortions, they shouldn’t force pharmacists to.”

    Oh boy another person who spouts something they no nothing about. Plan-B does not cause abortions, it is high dosage birth control and will not hurt a fetus. Please refer to these comments to learn what plan-B is and does: @johnva

  325. M3wThr33 says:

    Preventing implantation is exactly how the Rhythm Method works. (Having sex when the walls are the thinnest)

    So if you use NFP or whatever horrible math to determine the best time to get your kicks it’s NO DIFFERENT medically than a pill.

    But then again, Catholics also believe a lot of stuff they still do are sins. They just repent every so often and go on their way. Seems to defeat the purpose if you ask me.

  326. pigeonpenelope says:

    @Craysh: i agree with your messages here. if you don’t like a pharmacists policies, go somewhere else.

    the government cannot force a pharmacist to sell anything and I would never ask the government to do such a thing.

    although I disagree with a pharmacists view points if he/she refused to sell birth control, setting government mandates is running really close to the violating rights if not stepping right into it. that’s a debate for another day.

  327. pigeonpenelope says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: You might consider this splitting hairs but I have to say it. Please do not say “churches” as my faith does not agree with the same thing yours might and I am a Christian. My church agrees with birth control and family planning (not abortion, however, all sins have equal weight). Please do not generalize when talking about any religion. I know you don’t mean to be offensive but I was offended.

  328. Tmoney02 says:

    @hypochondriac: but for those of you who say the Pharmacies should sell the drugs or be closed down, are you also of the opinion that an OB/GYN doc has to perform an abortion if requested?

    Please see above comment: @Tmoney02

    @Craysh: “I’d be more concerned if there was a monopoly involved, but there isn’t, you can just go down the street to a different pharmacy.”

    uhhhh….ever thought of small towns with only one pharmacy? here is a similar answer: @Tmoney02

    Imagine if you went to a health food store and you wanted the cheaper milk that most supermarkets provide. Well, they only offer non-hormone, non-treated milk. Well, you wouldn’t get all up in arms and demand the government take away their license for that would you?

    You are seriously comparing a store not having one type of milk to not distributing medication some of which is needed ASAP as a medical emergency? Wow, that’s all I can say.

    @Ixnayer: If you don’t like the way a company does business, don’t do business with them. …If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Plain and simple!
    I’m afraid its not that simple. That is not practical in all towns and for all people. This isn’t luxury items but medical necessities which may be needed ASAP. See my answer to Craysh above.

    Also please lay off calling people communists it is not much different than calling people Nazis and just makes you look like a whack job, an old outdated “how does these Internets work” whack job.

  329. Zabella says:

    Do you think if I went in and promised that the pill was not for birth comtrol but for endometriosis and proved it by showing my power of attorney from my female partner I would have any luck? No birth control issues there! LOL

  330. richcreamerybutter says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: it’s like the Monty Python Cheese Shop!

  331. BytheSea says:

    I wanted to put out there another reason to take birth control for nonbirth reasons. Even though I don’t sleep with men, I take it because I have bipolar and generalized anxiety disorder. I do take meds for those, but nothing makes everything perfect. Without controlling my hormones, every month I had a 3-5 days of suicidal thoughts, insomnia, depression, and anxiety attacks; my anxiety made me obsess about my insomnia (and the life-interruption it caused) and caused more insomnia, to the point where I was hardly sleeping half the month.

    So, I’m on the three month cycle, four periods a year plan now, and my psych symptoms around my period are manageable. The last time I went off BC suddenly, because I couldn’t get my new prescription quickly enough and had to take a month off it, was a hellish month of swinging hormones, depression, and anxiety that I hadn’t felt since I finally managed my psych disorders over a year ago.

    Getting my meds through the mail has never been sufficient, because the meatheads who run the programs lose your paperwork, or the doctors forget to send it, or whatever. For the meds that keep me sane, keep me out of bed, allow me to hold a job and pay my bills, I need a physical, present, reliable pharmacy. I don’t know what I’d do if I lived in a small town with a bunch of judgmental pill withholders behind the counter.

  332. UmiDarkfire says:

    After reading all of this, I agree. No private business owner should be forced to order any product.

    That being said… I do not believe a pharmacy should be able to be privately owned. All pharmacies should be government owned and mandated with out bias toward any type of person or religon.

  333. drjayphd says:

    @Craysh: Imagine if you went to a health food store and you wanted the cheaper milk that most supermarkets provide. Well, they only offer non-hormone, non-treated milk. Well, you wouldn’t get all up in arms and demand the government take away their license for that would you?

    Welcome to scenic Completely Missing the Point. Population: you.

    Milk is about as far removed from the actual topic as one can get. But since we’re going with the milk metaphor, it’d be like walking into a grocery store, asking for Lactaid, and the employee not showing you where they stock the Lactaid, taking any Lactaid you might have with you, and not telling you who would help you. But they’ll happily point you towards the milk.

  334. Phexerian says:

    Wow lots of comments. This is a hot topic in the pharmacy world and is growing more and more by the day. In my state, legislators try trying to pass a law protecting pharmacists from damages for refusing to dispense birth control on a moral basis. This issue will grow and grow and may eventually make main stream media in the near future.

    As a pharmacy student, I get to hear a lot of stories about this. I get to hear about so and sos pharmacist at their store that they work at refuse to give someone Plan B because it was against their beliefs yet they had it in stock, so they lied about it and just told the person that they were out of stock.

    A few things to clear up for people…

    A pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription for specific reasons, and, at the moment, there is nothing prohibiting them from doing so for moral reasons. Pharmacists can refuse to fill it based on disease states, interactions, the fact that you are already taking another drug with the same ingredient in it, patient being rude or a pain, lab values, or the dose just looks way too high. There are many reasons. So don’t think that a physician can order us to fill any medication. We don’t work for the physician. The physician did not sign our license nor do they sign our paychecks. Quite honestly, we know a lot more about drugs than they do.

    Another thing to point out, to all those people who think of pharmacists as worthless…

    I’ll make sure not to intervene when you have a hip replacement and the physician writes for Lovenox 80mg Q12 hours when the guidelines state 30mg Qday. You know, interventions of that nature only save lives. That’s not too important is it. It is also important to point out that the people who think in this manner, are familiar only with retail pharmacists, not nuclear, clinical, consultant, home infusion, or hospital pharmacists. Go learn what they do and then tell me we are only count pills and fill scripts.

    Now, back to the topic…

    What this comes down too, is that a pharmacist refusing to sell you Plan B is doing so on MORAL grounds. This is not being done on the grounds of your direct health, but based on religious beliefs. It comes down to the pharmacist pushing their beliefs onto the patient. That, in my book, is quite unethical and extremely unprofessional.

    The argument that a private corporation has the right to sell what they want is understandable. But, when a corporation or individual refuses your health care because of morals based on THEIR religion, then they themselves become regressive entities in the health care system and can possibly even hurt the patient.

    The argument that the pharmacist should have the right to refuse anything against his beliefs is null IMHO. It is not the pharmacist who is taking the Plan B, it is the patient. The pharmacist is not committing the “SIN” but the patient is.

    Now, I would wonder, since there are no federal laws or state laws (at least in my state) that prohibit this, if this is actually constitutional? One could assume that since we have the right to freedom of religion, that a pharmacist pushing their religious morals onto someone would be unconstitutional. I don’t know if it will come up in court in this fashion and be attacked this way, but it could be a possibility. However, I am no attorney and do not have the mindset to interpret the constitution as they do. I would like to state that, that I believe people have the right to heath care as implied by the constitution which states the right to the pursuit of happiness. How ca one be happy but not be healthy? It is such an integral part of our society at this point that to refuse someone health care because of your moral objections are very crass and possibly unconstitutional. (This happiness clause in the constitution is my same argument for the right to privacy which is implied in the constitution as well. After all, how can one be happy if they are constantly being spied upon?)

    Now I’ve seen some pretty bad analogies in the comments here so far because they have been somewhat off base because they are not directly juxtaposed to the issue. However, I shall try and leave you with one or two.

    Take an attorney. The attorney is told by a judge to represent Max in a murder trial because max pleads not guilty, but yet is too poor to afford a lawyer. Thus he is granted his right to an attorney. Now, when they get to looking at the evidence, they DA has them hard. But the defendant, Max, wants to continue. The attorney is a catholic. He believes Max is guilty, yet, because it is his job to defend Max, fights for him like a dog in the court room knowing full well in his mind that he is guilty. He is helping a guilty man try and go free, yet he continues to do so because that is his job.

    Now, there are no conflicts of interest between the attorney and client so the only way he could refuse would be on religious grounds. Depending on the state, he may not or may be allowed to do so. The judge surely would not be very happy about it. Most lawyers would fight for the defendant tooth and nail regardless of their religious convictions because they believe in the system. (just as a pharmacist believes in health care)

    Would a postal worker, seeing that you subscribe to Hustler magazine, throw away your magazine because he thinks it is a sin to look at pornography? Possibly, but I would hope not. He would be terminated from employment immediately. But think about it, the postal worker is not committing the “SIN” at all. He just wants to play police officer and cast his moral judgment on others.

    Both of these roles are the two that come as close as possible, I think, to the pharmacist situation.

    Pharmacists have an obligation to their patients, but refusing that obligation to their well being because you think they are morally bankrupt is heinous.

    People should realize that the pharmacy community, as a whole, seems to be more on the conservative side (this is from the POV of an independent). Down south, where I live, this issue is being pushed to protect pharmacists for their position on this issue. This issue has no where to go, but to grow and grow until it explodes.

    -3rd Year PharmD / MBA Candidate

    P.S. Speaking of the Viagra argument previously mentioned, did you know that our state medicaid was covering Viagra? Tax payer money was covering a recreational drug. Now also guess whose hands it was getting into? Some of the sex offenders who were on medicaid were getting it. They were popping pills and going out and raping and molesting women. So, regarding this issue, when it came up, I didn’t see any of the same people who promote religious objections to Plan B do anything about this issue. There were only a handful. Fortunately, a hand full of people got together and fixed the problem promptly after it became an issue. No where to be found where the religious conservative pharmacists who push their morals more than some detail mans latest drug thrill ride.

  335. chriskhall says:

    Being a somewhat conservative Canadian I have always admired the American sense that the marketplace will end up making the decision…that is, in this case, if you do not like this pharmacy’s practices, do not shop there. If enough people do this, the pharmacy may get the message (or maybe will close up and become a martyr ;-)

    In this case, however, I am a little nervous about allowing any pharmacy to simply make blanket statements on what it won’t do. Put this another way. Imagine a Jehovah Witness private hospital…where they decide to operate based on their beliefs not to allow blood transfusions…

  336. kallawm says:

    I would love to comment… but I think it’s probably all been said. And the more I think about this, the more my blood pressure rises. However, I will certainly encourage boycotts of these places.

  337. Optimus says:

    @Sanveann: I understand the argument, though I think it ignores two or three, albeit minor, issues.

    As to good points:
    It appears he was trying to take advantage of the legal ability to have sex with an woman while unmarried (unless I misunderstand) without actually providing the intent of the legal ability.

    First ignored issue: At this time, there was no Law but what God spoke directly to Abraham or, in this case, Judah. Thus the punishment needed to suit the crime, but also serve as a deterrent to future commission of this crime, so the severity of punishment was elevated.

    Second: More obvious now than in Old Testament times, his act was sufficient to interrupt the lineage of Christ. This also carries with it a measure of severity that could not be determined from just the context within Genesis.

    Third: Unless I am mistaken, the article takes this verse (and perhaps others) to suggest that marriage of any form is a contract to procreate. This is a rather severe jump to a conclusion that is not put forth in the Bible unless I missed something.

    I’m more inclined to agree with katylostherart‘s suggestion that “go forth and multiply” is the cause for the belief that contraception is sinful. But even that is refuted in the new testament by Paul himself.

    1 Corinthians 7:27
    27 Art thou bound unto a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife.

    He specifically says in verse 25 that this is advice and not a commandment from God, however, would Paul advise anyone to disobey a commandment of God if it applies to them? Thus Paul is suggesting that this commandment, “go forth and multiply” was either intended specifically for those in the Garden of Eden and Noah, or just those Israelis of the Old Testament*. In fact, considering the commandment given to Noah included “and replenish the earth” I would expect that the commandment had been fulfilled before Abraham’s time, as the earth had clearly been replenished by then with plants, animals, and humans.

    My habit when studying scripture is to defend the opposing view point with any scripture possible and then come back and find any scripture that disagrees with that, and then research the context of each scripture. Without considering context there are many inconsistencies in the Bible. When considering the context, I have yet to find any, if they even exist.

    *I believe that the general context of the Bible is that the Old Testament is about understanding God and ensuring the lineage of Christ, and that the New Testament is about how we are to live in order to please God. With this context in mind, some contradictions in commandments between the Old Testament and the New are consistent.

    Disclaimer 2: Sorry about the unbelievably long post. I tried to keep it as concise as possible.

  338. overbysara says:

    good. all the crazies will go to the crazy pharmacy so the rest of us can live without them.

  339. Xerloq says:

    @UmiDarkfire: Yeah, as if waits at the pharmacy aren’t long enough. Can you imagine what the spawn of a Rite-Aid and the DMV would be?

  340. Optimus says:

    @richcreamerybutter: I have to say that when I first saw that, I thought it was making fun of “pro-lifers.” But it really does show the insanity that a few of us who are pro-life, but not committed on con-abortion, have to deal with.

    People get so polarized on potentially religious issues that they don’t think. They just react. If they’d take the time to read their Bibles (the one’s who are “Christians”) then they’d realize that reactions are not what Jesus did. Jesus never actively stopped anyone from sinning. He always took the opportunity to tell them that they were sinning, but he also always gave them a choice whether to continue in sin. If you try to force someone to stop sinning (for instance, by making it punishable by the government), you’re just as guilty of sin as the one who is sinning.

    Realize, I’m not condoning governments making everything legal. I have little doubt that if the US continues to legalize, and force acceptance of, sins, then it will be punished just as any country that has disobeyed God has in the past.

    But we Christians are only citizens of our countries by chance. Our primary citizenship is in Heaven. If our government required us to sin, we would sooner renounce our citizenship than obey. Because all other citizenship is secondary, we will likely continue to thrive after the cockroach dies.

    You may consider me a kook for such comments… but I challenge you to name a government that has outlasted Christianity… or that has oulasted any other religion for that matter.

  341. Optimus says:

    Man, I’m a windbag… or typefacebag in this case.

  342. rickh925 says:

    @kborer22: What about a medical student in a teaching hospital that performs abortions? Should they be forced to perform them in training? What about an OB/GYN in private practice? They have the choice to perform or not perform abortions. For that matter, an OB/GYN or any physician has the choice to prescribe birth control or not prescribe birth control pills(patches, injections…).

    I find it offensive that state legislatures are passing laws requiring pharmacists to dispense birth control medications. Taking their moral or faith position out of it, what if there is a medical contraindication to birth control pills that the physician was not aware of. What about a relative contraindication like smoking(drives up the risk of stroke)? Do you see states forcing certain medical practitioners to perform abortions? No, there is almost always a conscience clause in the various state practice acts.

    Like the other posters have said, if you want to make a statement, don’t go to those pharmacies but laws compelling them to dispense meds? I don’t think so.

  343. rickh925 says:

    @Phexerian: Phexerian, one comment on the Viagra comment about Medicaid paying for Viagra. Viagra is indicated for treatment of a specific disease. Why shouldn’t it be paid for? Plan B is not indicated for the treatment of any disease and Oral contraception is prescribed to change the normal biological function of a woman’s reproductive system. Comparing Viagra prescriptions and BCP prescriptions is not the same thing.

  344. rickh925 says:

    @wiggatron: I feel for your friend, but the birth control pills are not correcting the cause of the ovarian cysts. Often women are put on BCP to regulate irregular menstrual cycles which they certainly do, but the underlying pathology is not determined. Often these women have diseases like polycystic ovarian disease that left untreated can lead to cancer, diabetes, and other endocrine issues.

    In that case, BCP just cover up the problem and make it look like the reproductive system is functioning correctly without really treating the problem.

  345. Craysh says:

    I’ve lived in a small town. We had at least two pharmacies and we had less than two thousand people at the time (Denmark, WI). We always had a choice in pharmacy.
    Though you may be right in some cases. OTC always seemed right for birth control to me.

    @Tmoney02 and @ drjayphd
    My milk analogy was in reference to the government being allowed to force a retail location to sell anything. As it is, a lot of pharmacies do not sell certain steroids and narcotics.

    One of the problems I DO see is the pharmacist confiscating the prescription, which was vaguely mentioned by Marcia Greenberger, but I’m rather sceptical about that. Just call the police and say that some nut-bag in a white jacket stole your prescription.

  346. Sanveann says:

    @M3wThr33: Hmmm … I replied yesterday, but my reply seems to have disappeared. Weird.

    Anyway, the rhythm method is NOT the same as NFP. The rhythm method consists of counting the days of your cycle and assuming you ovulate smack-dab in the middle of it (which many women don’t). I don’t know anyone who uses the rhythm method.

    NFP consists of using several biological indicators of fertility, such as waking temperature, cervical mucus or hormone surges (as measured by an OPK). It’s far more reliable, and when used correctly, has a success rate far greater than condoms and almost equal to the pill. Incidentally, I know quite a few non-Catholic women who use NFP (also called Fertility Awareness Method, or FAM) because they feel it’s healthier than using a bunch or artificial hormones.

    NFP does NOT rely on the prevention of implantation. The methodology consists of determining when ovulation is, then avoiding sex at that time — thus preventing conception altogether. If there’s nothing conceived, there’s nothing to implant.

    @rickh925: You make some excellent points. I know a LOT of women who had menstrual issues and were put on the pill to “regulate things,” but the true cause of their problem (PCOS, uterine fibroids, etc.) was not addressed.

  347. Optimus says:

    Once again… I apologize for the windbaggery. <tongue location=cheek>You’d think I was preacher.</tongue>

    @Sanveann & rickh925: I know the issue of cycle irregularity being caused by an otherwise untreated illness has been made by others… but let’s face it… I’m lazy and Sanveann’s post was at the bottom.

    Sometimes those underlying causes of cycle irregularity are known, but mostly untreatable, as in some cases of ovarian cysts, which runs in my wife’s family. In fact, these diseases are often the only time birth control is covered by medical insurance because it is necessary for the treatment of a disease rather than to prevent a naturally occurring biological function.

    @Sanveann: I have a question regarding avoiding pregnancy by means other than direct or chemical blockage, such as this NFP of which you type. Isn’t avoiding the fertilization of the egg the same as preventing the fertilization of the egg? It requires the same intent of heart (sex without a baby) and reaches the same effect (having an egg destroyed with no chance of life). And how is avoiding the fertilization of an egg different from surgical sterilization, where the same avoidance is completed, but with nearly full assurance.

    I guess I’m asking for a religious argument that defends timing sex but simultaneously condemns all other forms of birth control.

    @ALL: And last, why is it considered politically correct to make 15 different insulting straw man arguments when attacking Christianity on any subject and then thump one’s chest and proclaim “Me smart guy! You stupid!” but then considered not politically correct to raise intelligent questions about politically accepted faith-based institutions such as Islam, Buddhism, Atheism, or Evolution? (I didn’t include Hindu as that seems to be in open season lately as well. Probably because of general hatred for Indian call centers.)

    I’d understand if the answer is just that “Christians” in this country deserve it for trying to force their opinions on everyone through government power. Clearly many non-Christians do not understand that, as in all affiliations, a vocal minority can destroy the reputations of the entire affiliation, no matter how loose that affiliation may be. But it often seems to have much deeper roots than that. The level of utter contempt that oozes from the woodwork everytime someone mentions Christianity or a topic that might be loosely attached to Christianity seems to be at such a low level of the psyche which exudes it so as to suggest an utter hatred of Christianity.

    But then, the Son Himself may have explained this one all too obviously:

    Luke 21:12,16-17,19
    12 But before all these things, they shall lay their hands on you, and shall persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and governors for my name’s sake.
    16 But ye shall be delivered up even by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolk, and friends; and [some] of you shall they cause to be put to death.
    17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
    19 In your patience ye shall win your souls.

  348. Sanveann says:

    @Optimus: I definitely agree that there ARE some times when the pill is the best treatment for a particular condition. (Even the RCC will agree with that; it is licit to use the pill if you have a true medical need, as far as I know.) However, I also think there are plenty of instances in which the pill is used to mask the real problem, which results in women not getting the best care possible.

    As for the noral difference between NFP and artificial birth control or sterilization, their are numerous articles out there on the topic. Here are a few good ones:

    [] (I don’t always agree with Priests for Life, particularly on their use of graphic photos of aborted babies, but this is a very good article)



    The main difference, in my experience, is what these articles point out — respect for our natural fertility; working with it, rather than against it. Even my non-religious husband is a fan now. (He was NOT big on the idea when I first suggested it, but very admirably, he agreed to give it a try.)

    I won’t say NFP is perfect. Like any artificial method, you have to use it for it to work. You can’t be lazy about your observations, and you can’t “cheat” if you’re seriously trying to avoid pregnancy. For some couples, it’s very easy; for others, it’s a much bigger sacrifice. But I can’t imagine ever using anything else, even if the pope said tomorrow that artificial birth control was OK.

  349. Optimus says:

    I can see the argument. I usually try to avoid religious debates on nonreligious public forums. I just wanted to understand the justification for the views held on all sides of this issue, regardless of whether I agree.

    Usually, if you find me quoting scripture on a nonreligious forum, it’s with hopes of calming down the Christians who may be getting a bit heated in the debate. I seldom pull out scripture to debate a non-Christian, because what good does it do? They have to believe it first, or it’s worthless to them.

  350. Sanveann says:

    @Optimus: “I seldom pull out scripture to debate a non-Christian, because what good does it do? They have to believe it first, or it’s worthless to them.”

    I know what you mean. I have to admit, I roll my eyes whenever I see someone writing a letter to the editor or whatever, citing Bible verses to argue against any given issue. The people who care what the Bible says don’t need convincing, and the rest, well, don’t care what it says!

  351. Phexerian says:

    @rickh925: Viagra is a treatment for erectile dysfunction. It can be classified as a disease state. However, overall, in our society, it is also classified as a recreational drug. It is not needed to live for ED.

    It is also used for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, which gives the patient an average time to live of about 5 more years (the disease state, not the drug). However, Viagra is not called viagra then, it is called Revatio and is given as a different strength. Insurance companies do cover Revatio more than viagra because it is not considered to be a recreational drug and Viagra is, even though they have the exact same drug in them; sildenafil.

    I never said Viagra shouldn’t be payed for by private insurances, I said it should not be payed for with tax payer money, which was previously medicaid. Medicaid is for poor people, yet they get expensive recreational drugs for free? Might as well give them a pot farm and some poppy fields.

    Further more, my argument regarding viagra was not only just an FYI inquiry, but comparing the motives of ultra conservative pro lifers. I was not comparing Viagra, Plan B, and oral contraceptives based on disease states but was comparing them on a social scale while comparing the reactions of the conservative pro lifers. So you are correct in saying that one should not really compare Viagra and Plan B (directly). However, what you fail to understand is that I am not doing this directly, I am making an inquiry into the social reactions of a specific political and religious group. The are comparable when you consider the motives of the group itself. They are adamant about life, but when other topics come up about life, they turn a blind eye and keep beating the same old drum of Plan B and Birth Control. You took my words and twisted them or misunderstood them.

    Once again, why are the ultra conservative pro lifers so uppity about Plan B and birth control methods when the state was funding recreational drugs to people and allowing sex offenders to get their hands on them and motivate them to go out and commit more sex acts? I guess it was because they never knew about it in the first place. Perhaps they are so focused on one specific thing, they don’t see what else is going on around them? Of course the entire argument can be reversed for ultra liberals as well.

    Now, wasn’t this quite an off topic discussion?

    -3rd Year PharmD / MBA Candidate

  352. Green Goth Brit Chick - AlternatEve says:

    *sigh* As one of the many women who takes BC not through choice but through the orders of her Gynecologist, this just makes me sick. Oh, bad pun.

    I have liver damage through years of taking high strength painkillers to combat what was then undiagnosed Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome and Endometriosis. Would these pharmacists happily sell me said pain medication as opposed to BC knowing the damage they would do as opposed to the help I would get from taking the BC?

    Sidenote, due to the extreme nature of my PCOS and Endometriosis, there’s no chance I can conceive naturally, so the “premptive abortion” point, in my case, is moot. What would they have to say about that?