An Open Letter to Illinois Pharmacists

Who do you think you are?

Your religion does not trump mine.  If you have a moral or religious objection to dispensing medication that a woman has a legal right to, then maybe you should get another job.

In your lawsuit, you said that you “believe life begins at conception, emergency contraception may act as an abortifacient, and the dispensing of such medication is against [your] religious beliefs.”

First, and most importantly, emergency contraception is not an abortifacient:

According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), EC works by preventing ovulation (first) and fertilization (second). “They are not abortifacients. They will not interrupt or harm an established pregnancy.”  This is the case for all contraceptives.

Second, so what if dispensing such medication is against your beliefs?  Your refusal to dispense medication is against my beliefs.  And, your action puts a woman in need at unnecessary risk.

You don’t know why a woman in your pharmacy needs emergency contraception, and it’s really none of your business.  When my religion empowers me to make my own decisions about health care and family planning, you do not have the right to prevent me from doing so solely because it goes against your religion.

Are you part of the health care system or not?  If you are, then you will realize that emergency contraception is part of health care for women.  If you don’t understand that, then you should consider getting out.

Get out from behind the counter if your religious views are more important to you than dispensing medical care.  Go out to the mission field and evangelize there.

Or maybe head over to the only butcher shop in your town, and find out that the Muslim working behind the counter refuses to sell you ham for your Easter dinner.  It is against his religious beliefs, after all.  You might notice that the Jewish waiter at the seafood restaurant refuses to let you order shrimp, too.  And good luck getting a bottle of wine to celebrate your anniversary next week when the only grocery store in town is owned by a teetotaling Mormon family.

A pharmacy is not a church.  If I want to submit to your religious views, or those of anyone else, I’ll come to your house of worship.

In the mean time, do your job or get another one.

 

From ThinkProgress:  “An Illinois appeals court upheld a ruling Friday that exempted pharmacists with religious objections from prescribing emergency contraceptives.”

This is an issue in many places.  I happen to live in Illinois.

 

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • http://www.lifetrekk.com Katherine Nilbrink

    Amen!

  • Frank

    We need more regular people in the public sphere to stand up and say “no more!” Well done pharmacists. We all should follow their example.

    • C Alan Nault

      And I suppose if you are given a prescription for antibiotics you would have no problems with a pharmacist refusing to fill your prescription because they feel God wants you suffering from some infection, and your illness is God’s will?

      Or perhaps you’re injured in a vehicle accident & the paramedics tell you that the accident was God’s will, so they won’t be performing any medical aid on you… but will pray that God heals you. Would that be OK with you?


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