Straight Up with Sherri

Friday, April 15, 2005

Moral or Religious Beliefs? SO WHAT! Not Just in Illinois Anymore!

Hat tip: keeka

Bill Says Pharmacies Must Fill Birth Control Rx

Friday, April 15, 2005
By Todd Zwillich

Washington lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday making it illegal for pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. The move adds to a growing controversy over the right of pharmacists to withhold oral contraceptives from patients with valid doctor's orders.

Under the bill, pharmacists who refuse to fill any prescription because of "personal beliefs" must ensure that another pharmacist dispenses the drugs. Pharmacies that do not stock a drug must order it immediately at the patient's request, it states.

The bill says pharmacies can be fined up to $5,000 a day or $500,000 in total for delays in providing drugs.

While the bill applies to all prescriptions and does not specifically mention birth control, supporters made it clear that it was intended to head off a growing number of pharmacists who are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraceptives because of moral objections.

"Nobody has the right to come between a person and their doctor," said Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., the bill's chief senate sponsor. "We just want to have a bill that will say, 'pharmacists, do your job, period.'"

The bill comes a day after two Illinois pharmacists sued Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich over a new state rule compelling pharmacies that carry contraceptives to fill prescriptions for birth control.

The rule also forces pharmacies that do not stock the requested pills, including emergency contraception, to order the drugs or refer the patient to a nearby pharmacy. Blagojevich approved the rule April 1 after two Chicago pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions for emergency contraceptives.

Similar refusals have occurred in at least seven states, including Texas, where in 2004 three Eckerd pharmacists in the town of Denton allegedly refused to fill an emergency contraceptive prescription for a rape victim.

"We have to make sure that women do not have to fight through the conscience of their pharmacist in order to get legal prescription drugs," said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., a House sponsor of the bill.

The bill does not require pharmacies to stock any drug but only compels them to order it for patients with a valid doctor's prescription, aides said.

Conservative Pharmacists Respond

Karen Brauer, RPh, president of Pharmacists for Life International, a conservative pharmacists' group with 1,600 members, says the bill would be unenforceable since some pharmacists refuse to provide birth control pills on medical safety grounds.

"First they'll have to prove that the denial [to fill a prescription] is due to beliefs. I think we could make the government go broke trying to enforce that," she said.

At least four states -- Arkansas, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Georgia -- have laws or regulations giving pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions to which they morally object.

Other states are considering legislation requiring pharmacists to fill all valid prescriptions.

Controversy over oral contraceptives also surfaced last week on Capitol Hill. Two Democratic senators blocked the confirmation of President Bush's pick to head the FDA until the agency issues a long-awaited decision on whether to allow an emergency contraceptive called Plan B to be sold over the counter to patients 16 and older.


  • Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. "Nobody has the right to come between a person and their doctor," - Franky-poo is the number 1 tyrant who wants to come between me and my God-given right to own a handgun. I don't think he has any citizen's best interests at heart.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 10:26 PM  

  • Doctors hand out meds all the time that they get free from drug companies. Instead of writing a prescription, just give the pill out at the time of the appointment. If they prescribe it, they must not have a moral conflict about the matter. If they don’t want to save a life, maybe they can save a tree by using less paper. Why try to shove this down the throats of those who do feel it’s unlawful or are morally opposed?

    By Anonymous Dee, at 11:46 PM  

  • What about the delivery truck driver who brings the drugs to the drugstore? Should he be legally protected from being fired or sanctioned if he refuses to deliver Plan B pills?

    By Anonymous Striker, at 12:57 AM  

  • Some pharmacists will only sell contraceptives to women when they provide proof of marriage because they believe single women shouldn't be having sex.
    That pretty much renders the whole concept of moral or religious beliefs mute in my view.
    Selling something to one person, but not the other is plain and simple discrimination.

    If you can't draw a clear line on what is acceptable and what isn't, the only result will be rampant abuse.

    I can respect that an individual pharmacist would have problems supplying the morning after pill, but that is a personal issue.
    In a chain where there are several people available at any given time, someone else can fill the prescription if need be. And as long as they are reasonable and don't prevent someone from getting their medication, they shouldn't be fired over their beliefs either.
    But in a pharmacy as a whole any prescription should be honoured.

    By Anonymous Vanessa, at 8:38 AM  

  • As an afterthought and before I get attacked by someone who thinks I'm saying an indiviual's beliefs should be ignored.

    It's not a perfect analogy but to illustrate my point it will do (so don't try to find fault, I know it's not accurate).
    If you have to appear before court, any individual lawyer might refuse to represent you because he or she feels they can't "morally" represent you, but in the end you are not going to end up getting judged and sentenced without legal council.

    So I'm fine with any pharmacist potentially refusing (and within reason) something, but the end result should always be that the person gets their medication swiftly in cases where time is important (like the morning after pill in this instance).

    By Anonymous Vanessa, at 8:48 AM  

  • Vanessa

    but the end result should always be that the person gets their medication swiftly in cases where time is important (like the morning after pill in this instance).

    Sorry to hear you say that. I thought you were pro-life.....

    Or is it only a life when "She" (playing God) decides it is a life?

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 8:57 AM  

  • I know this is off-topic, but since I suspect you won't have a topic on this, how about this graf from today's headlines:

    "Fla. finds no abuse of Schiavo by family


    Associated Press Writer

    TAMPA, Fla. — State investigators found no evidence that Terri Schiavo had been abused or exploited by EITHER SIDE (emphasis mine) of her family, according to documents released by Florida's Department of Children and Families."

    Yeah, I'm sure all those apologies for slandering the husband regarding the now-disproven allegations of spousal abuse will come pouring in. Or at least if you had any respect for the truth they would. But that's probably too much to expect from some of the posters here. Oh, wait, I get it. The DCF investigators are part of this huge conspiracy against Mrs. Schiavo that included Mr. Schiavo, the judge, (in fact, all the judges, all the way up to the Supremes) the social workers, Mr. Schiavo's lawyer (of course), and everyone else who doesn't believe that you're RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT! Right.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:44 AM  

  • Anonymous,
    First, the DCF is involved in the conspiracy! If you have been reading the postings and comments here, you would know that. Why now, I see that even George Felos' wife, a massage therapist, is going to anaylze the autopsy results and prove conclusively that Terri was in a PVS.
    Furthermore, DCF had stated earlier they would not comment on the extremely limited release ordered by George Greer. Remember, they refused, multiple times, to investigate. Of course they are going to say there was nothing there! (Hand in cookie jar - chocolate chips on mouth.)

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 10:57 AM  

  • Vanessa @ 8:48
    ... but in the end you are not going to end up getting judged and sentenced without legal council.

    That is exactly what happened to Terri Schiavo! It happens all the time in this country.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 11:00 AM  

  • Right Wing Nut Job, what is your take on the pharmacist issue? So far you've only indirectly alluded to it via the Lautenberg quote.

    Vanessa, in CA at least the laws are exactly as you say. An individual pharmacist may refuse to fill a script BUT he must transfer the script immediately to another pharmacy/pharmacist that will fill it. The law also says that if the pharmacy is the only one capable of filling the script within a reasonable distance, they must fill it regardless of moral relativism issues.

    By Anonymous Striker, at 12:23 PM  

  • Striker,
    I do not believe that an employee can be forced to violate his/her morality. However, an employer is free to dismiss the employee for doing so, without prejudice. If the pharmacist is the owner, that person would have the right to prohibit sales that he/she considered immoral. If the government demands that particular immorality be made available to consumers, then someone (likely the drug manufacturers/distributors) can make a database available to tell where the customer can find their poison. As a government, I would require that the pharmacist make available the location of this database, but not necessarily access to it - that is the function of a library, not the purview of the government to force a pharmacist to become a co-conspirator to immorality or crime.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 1:09 PM  

  • The information is already available. According to this site you can get the info with just one phone call on which pharmacies carry the "poison" - plus you can get an on-line prescription; why even see a doctor?!?!?

    Princeton maintains a directory of providers who will prescribe ECPs also.

    There is no need to involve pharmacist or any others who are opposed to this.

    By Anonymous Dee, at 2:05 PM  

  • Nutjob-
    Your ability to deceive yourself borders on the freakish. Hand in cookie jar? Exactly what's in it for the DCF to "conspire" about anything related to this case? For all the elaborate conspiracy that exists in your medication-needing mind, you haven't been able to explain to normal people exactly what ties all these evil people together in their bloodthirsty quest to kill Schiavo.
    I'm absolutely not being facetious when I question your grip on reality.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:35 PM  

  • Anonymous

    You seem to think that Sherri “and some of the posters here” are not seeking the truth. Nothing has been disproved by the release of 9 reports covering the time frame of 2001 – 2004. Those reports are not from the most recent investigation of neglect and abuse DCF tried to perform. Why didn’t Greer allow the release of all conclusions drawn by the agency? How is “the need for citizens to know of and adequately evaluate” – so wrote Greer – fulfilled if the information isn’t accessible? All report results need to be release in order to shape an informed decision about the quality of care Terri received and get to the truth.

    By Anonymous Dee, at 2:36 PM  

  • -- Why didn’t Greer allow the release of all conclusions drawn by the agency? --

    You mean those 30 or so anonymous allegations that miraculously were all phoned in when Terri's feeding tube was removed? Are you that naive to believe that these were anything but a re-hashing of the previous allegations and were phoned in by people without personal knowledge of the situation? And did you also catch the part that said many of the previous "tips" used the same wording, indicating they were the result of a coordinated "response"?

    Even if you're foolish enough to believe they were legitimate, the bulk of the American public is not.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:42 PM  

  • ANON

    Anytime a "guardian" finds that the one HE/SHE is RESPONSIBLE for PROTECTING (that is WHY guardianship laws exist- to PROTECT the VULNERABLE) has 13 bone fractures and NEVER even asks, HOW? I would say that is an ABUSE.

    YOU need to be honest. NO ONE should be subject to such treatment that would lead to 13 bone fractures. NO ONE!

    No excuse for this to have not been investigated. NO EXCUSE!

    If I found my child with 13 bone fractures- SOMEONE would be HEARING FROM ME AND LOUD! anything less would be make me a SORRY parent.

    If you feel the need to keep protecting someone with such a low regard for their wife and her treatment- please, keep going.....

    By Blogger Straight Up with Sherri, at 2:57 PM  

  • Anonymous @ 2:35,
    You really don't see it do you? Is your head in the sand or somewhere else. I will do this one more time, just for you:
    When DCF, an executive agency of the State of Florida, was ordered by their constitutional superior, the Governor, to investigate, the attorney for DCF, Frank Nagatani replied "DCF is not going to get involved [in the Terri Schiavo case] until this is out of the court." This is the same Frank Nagatani who contributed to the 1998 election campaign of 6th Judicial Circuit Court Judge George Greer, the primary adjudicator in the Terri Schiavo case.
    Later, a different attorney for DCF, Jennifer Lima-Smith asked Greer to keep its records sealed, saying, "It's time to end this case." This is the exact same Jennifer Lima-Smith who had earlier told Greer that, "The law allows the department to exercise both emergency protective services -- intervention and emergency removal -- either one or both." She was taken to the woodshed for that remark by whomever is orchestrating the conspiracy and cover-up.
    If you are interested in the real truth, which I seriously doubt you are, you can read the story here.

    By Blogger Right Wing Nut Job, at 3:13 PM  

  • Anonymous

    When it comes to life, I would rather look foolish and naïve to “the bulk of the American public” than to sit on my laurels and do nothing when there is an iota of doubt; I’m the one who faces the reflection in the mirror. From my research, reading court documents, medical records, etc.; there was more than a little doubt that the truth was not forthcoming.

    It doesn’t matter if 29 of those 30 calls were taped messages, that one call could make a difference; just as in a jury – it only takes one to keep someone off death row and it’s DFC’s lawful duty is to investigate. All of their reports should be released, if they’re full of redundancy – so be it.

    You know, from my experience I’ve found “the bulk of the American public” doesn’t know the different between crap and apple butter.

    By Anonymous Dee, at 5:18 PM  

  • Sherri:

    I'm not pro-life, no, but I hate labels in most cases as it is since I usually find some merit in proposals from both sides.

    That said, there should never be a situation in where an individual's ideology is compromised.
    If someone is against abortion or euthanasia I fully respect that, but then I also see it as a personal choice, and everything should be in place to make sure there is no situation where on one side a doctor decides an abortion should happen anyway and performs it against the woman's wishes, or on the other side, where someone dies despite clear wishes to the contrary.
    Although, I'm just as admanent about the opposite happening.

    If there's a compromise where there might be a possible mere inconvenience on the customer's side but on the other hand doesn't require someone to go against their conscience, I'm all for it.
    But it can't lead to legalised discrimination, where a product is sold to one group, but not another simply because they're single, gay, religious, atheist, blonde, etc as is currently happening in some minority cases.

    Neither side will ever go away, nor should they. I find a lot of how I feel in pro-choice, but I see the necessity of a strong pro-life movement to keep everything in check, revolt against abuses and make sure something is done to prevent it from happening again.

    By Anonymous Vanessa, at 9:29 PM  

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