Speak Out For Women's Access To Birth Control

Daylight Atheism highlights a Freedom From Religion Foundation action alert:

As you may know, on August 1st, 2011, the Internal Revenue Service, Department of Labor, and Department of Health and Human Services jointly announced new guidelines for access to preventative care. The new regulations greatly expand access to preventative care under the new health care act, particularly for women. One of the most significant changes is the provision that all FDA-approved contraceptives (including emergency contraception), as well as contraceptive counseling and education, shall be provided without a co-pay fee.

…Ironically, while these provisions are almost certain to reduce the number of abortions in the U.S., religious groups are fighting these health services and demanding broad exemptions based on religious and “conscience” grounds.

…FFRF would prefer that no religious employer exemption be provided. However, some religious groups are agitating for broader exemptions… They want to grant religious third parties the right to deny medical care and FDA-approved treatment on the basis of personal “conscience” – without regard to the conscience of the women who are actually impacted by these preventative services! Reproductive rights opponents, particularly Catholic and evangelical organizations, are lobbying to expand this narrow exception so that any organization even vaguely affiliated with religion (such as denominational hospitals open to the public) can deny basic healthcare to women in need of contraception and contraceptive counseling.

Go to regulations.gov, click on “submit a comment” and enter the code “CMS-9992-IFC2″ to tell the United States government that pharmacists who refuse to fulfill prescriptions should not be pharmacists.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://lordsetar.wordpress.com Setár, self-appointed Elf-lord of social justice

    Being a pharmacist, like being a doctor, lawyer or teacher, is a career. You decide well in advance that you’re going to do it, and part of that decision should involve taking into account the fact that you’re supposed to dispense whatever medicine the customer pays for, if you’re allowed to. You may make a professional decision if you are well-enough acquainted with the patient’s medical history (of course, the patient in that case probably knows you as well), but your personal qualms need to stay out of your patients’ lives.

    Don’t like it? Should have thought of that before you decided to become a pharmacist, like when you were reading the damn job description while deciding if you were going to go for pharmacology or molecular biology.

  • cholten99

    No matter how they like to dress it up the abortion / contraception issues is all about control. According to the underlying principles of the opponents women simply should not have the final say over their own bodies.

    An interesting survey question would be to ask these folks whether it would be okay to distribute birth control but /only/ if the request came from the woman’s husband.

    • Captain Mike

      That would be an interesting question, although I suspect the answers would make me cry tears of rage.

  • Aliasalpha

    I suggest that we as a species jointly band together and create a worldwide law that says something along the lines of ‘you do the job you’re paid to do regardless of personal feelings or you find another bloody job’.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Monado, FCD

    It should be officially a violation of professional standards to refuse to fill a prescription for personal reasons, not just in reality. The way it’s set up in Canada, though, is that the pharmacist is a necessary partner in the business and basically brings the pharmacy business to the bricks-and-mortar location, so you can’t just fire him. That’s why it’s really necessary to be able to report him.

    And yes, I’m saying “him.”

  • http://www.themindisaterriblething.com shripathikamath

    I think targeting pharmacists is the wrong way to go about it. Then it becomes an issue of religious exemption, and messy.

    The law should target the pharmacy. If the pharmacy does not fill the prescription, it loses its license. It is up to the pharmacy then to employ suitable pharmacists. If they can make do by hiring one pharmacist who does not have irrational objections, great!

    If an anesthesiologist refuses to provide an epidural for a woman in labor, because it violates his biblical beliefs that the pain of child-birth is god-sent, and should not be interfered with, do we sue the doctor, or the hospital?

    Same thing.

  • What the Hell

    I tried to comment, but the code you mentioned returns no search results. It I try “pharmacy,”
    then there are over eight thousand results. Any other suggestions? I feel strongly about the
    issue–I specifically never trade at CVS, a major U.S. chain, because they allow their “pharmacists” to refuse to fill prescriptions they disagree with on religious grounds. I always figured a great deal would be for a Christian Scientist to become a pharmacist and get hired by them. You could just sit with your feet up for eight hours a day and get paid!


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