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In Kansas Your Pharmacist Can Now Refuse To Fill Your Contraception Prescription

by David Badash on May 15, 2012

in Civil Rights,Discrimination,News,Politics

Post image for In Kansas Your Pharmacist Can Now Refuse To Fill Your Contraception Prescription

In Kansas, your local neighborhood drug store pharmacist can now refuse to fill your doctor-issued contraception prescription, or any drug he or she thinks might be used to terminate a pregnancy, or be used in conjunction with pregnancy termination, all on the grounds of “religious liberty” and “conscience protection.” Not only that, but anyone who “reasonably believes” a drug prescription they are filling or “reasonably believes” an action they are taking — say, administering a drug — might result in the termination of a pregnancy is allowed to refuse under Republican Governor Sam Brownback‘s new law.

The so-called “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” which curiously exists in several states under the same name (perhaps an ALEC creation?), applies to pharmacists and even nurses and doctors — anyone who is related to the process of pregnancy termination. The drugs could include both abortion-inducing medications, and even emergency contraception like the so-called “morning-after pill,” but also could include drugs used for life-saving reasons — the pharmacist would only have to trust their gut, not the doctor’s orders.

“Critics say the law will open the door for a pharmacist to refuse a request for something like the ‘morning-after’ pill, which the Mayo Clinic says can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus,” the Kansas City Star writes:

They argued that the law puts pharmacists and physicians in a position to refuse birth control and that it will affect many women, especially those in small towns and rural communities since the health provider wouldn’t be required to provide a referral somewhere else.

This is the fifth bill restricting abortion that Brownback has signed since taking office.

Last year, the Republican governor signed bills requiring new licensing criteria for abortion clinics and requiring parental consent for juveniles to get an abortion.

Brownback also signed a bill banning insurance coverage of abortion and another one that tightened limits on late-term abortion.

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{ 1 comment }

lepidopteryx May 17, 2012 at 7:00 pm

A pharmacist's job is to fill prescriptions, not to appoint him/herself the gatekeeper of my uterus.

If my waiter at Red Lobster is Jewish, s/he can't refuse to take my order for scampi. If my cashier at Winn-Dixie is Muslim, s/he can't refuse to ring up my bacon and beer.

So why should a pharmacist be allowed to refuse to fill my scrip because s/he suspects I'm going to use the medication to do something his/her god says is icky?

And how far will we allow pharmacists to take their "consciences?" I once worked with a woman who believed that mental illness was actually manifestation of demon possession. I had a roommate who was rapid cycling bipolar. Without her meds, this woman could not function. Should a pharmacist who believes that mental illness is caused by demons be allowed to refuse to dispense anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, etc., and perform an exorcism instead?

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