An issue to watch

Pharmicists are coming under fire for refusing to fill prescriptions for the “morning after” pill. It is a matter of conscience. While ordinary birth control pills prevent ovulation, the morning after pill prevents implantation of a created embryo and may therefore be considered – literally – an easy abortion.

Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has ordered that pharmicists must fill the orders regardless of their personal feelings.

This is going to be an issue to watch; it’s going to be big. Once again, we see this insistance that Death trumps all, that what the Culture of Death wants overrides any and all concerns about liberty, freedom of expression and personal conscience.

This governor would not for a moment insist that a Kosher or Muslim butcher provide pork to anyone who asks. He would not demand that the owner of a vegan restaurant serve up a big old steak because someone wants it. He would not tell a newspaper what it had to print. But he’ll tell a pharmicist what he has to stock and supply.

Abortion rights advocates and most physicians say the pill, unlike the French drug RU-486, is not an abortion drug because it does not destroy an embryo. Instead, the pill prevents ovulation or fertilization, or blocks a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in the uterus.

Proponents feel it is critical for many pharmacists to offer the morning-after pill because women have only a small window of time after sex in which to obtain and use it. The pill is effective up to three to five days after intercourse, and it is most effective when taken immediately.

Advocates also argue that the pill will lead to fewer abortions.

No…they’ll lead to MORE abortions…just not as messy and with less wear and tear on the body and the conscience.

…many abortion opponents believe the morning-after pill ends a human life and is therefore tantamount to abortion.

“Emergency contraceptive pills can be abortifacient if they are taken after ovulation has occurred,” Dr. Gertrude Murphy, a retired physician who worked at a Catholic hospital in Boston and is currently on the board of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, testified at the hearing. “An abortifacient is defined here as any medication or device that causes the death of the developing human after fertilization.”

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • bonnie

    As we travel further down the slippery slope (of playing God with life and death) we hit another mudslide!

  • stephanie

    Wow, We’ve been discussing this one for more than a month in liberal circles! I’ll come out again here- pharmacists have the right to refuse to fill the perscription IF that is the pharmacy policy. They don’t have to recommend another place to go- though that would be courteous. What they cannot do, IMHO, is deny the patient the script (which is what the law was in response to). Legally it belongs to the patient. Pharmacists are confiscating the scripts so the patient cannot go elsewhere, and that IS wrong.

  • TheAnchoress

    I agree with you Stephanie. The prescription belongs to the patient.

    See? We agree!!!!!

  • jaed

    No…they’ll lead to MORE abortions

    Just a small correction here – the morning-after pill stops ovulation from occurring if it hasn’t already, as well as bringing on a period. If no fertilization has taken place, it’s not abortifacient, and the best medical guess appears to be that most of the time when this pill is taken, it hasn’t.

    I’m not at all sure whether this changes the moral equation, since there’s still a possibility that what results from taking it will be an early abortion, and there’s no way to tell in the current state of the medical art whether you’re just stopping ovulation. But I do think it’s important to have the facts very precisely in mind; it makes it easier to argue persuasively and to counter arguments such as “it’s not abortion, it’s only preventing implantation”.

  • GBPharm.D.

    I do not fill Rx’s for Plan B; one must become certified in my state to provide it and I refuse to become certified. These are not benign drugs and women may suffer harm from them, and must have full counseling before use. Having said that, I will fill Rx’s for OC’s as those have legitimate medical uses other than contraception. And, yes, I am a practicing Catholic.

  • stephanie

    See anchoress, we can find middle ground! :-) I’ve taken a little bit of a beating on this in liberal circles, but it’s only right for pharmacists to be able to act within their moral code. Of course, my other caveat is it has to be company policy. If CVS’s corporate policy is to fill these perscriptions, and you object, I would consider that before taking the job. Cause if you disagree with company policy, you can’t re write it on the floor.