Some pharmacists want "right" to deny women prescription medication
Dispensing lectures and judgment rather than time-sensitive drugs
This piece ("Pharmacists' Rights at Front Of New Debate") in yesterday's Washington Post about pharmacists refusing to dispense the morning-after pill or birth control pills had me steaming, in no small part because it seems the language framework has already shifted to a discussion of "pharmacists' rights" (a term likely invented by the same folks who brought us "personal accounts" and "tax relief").
An increasing number of clashes are occurring in drugstores across the country. Pharmacists often risk dismissal or other disciplinary action to stand up for their beliefs, while shaken teenage girls and women desperately call their doctors, frequently late at night, after being turned away by sometimes-lecturing men and women in white coats.Pharmacists' rights? What about a patient's right to get medication that has been prescribed by her doctor? What would the debate look like if some pharmacists decided that they didn't want to dispense, say, Viagra? Or another type of life-saving urgent medication that needed to be taken within 72 hours to be effective? This is not about rights. The Post makes these people sound like brave principled crusaders, but "Standing up for their beliefs" in this case really means "not doing their jobs." Body and Soul makes a similar point, and notes:
"There are pharmacists who will only give birth control pills to a woman if she's married. There are pharmacists who mistakenly believe contraception is a form of abortion and refuse to prescribe it to anyone," said Adam Sonfield of the Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York, which tracks reproductive issues. "There are even cases of pharmacists holding prescriptions hostage, where they won't even transfer it to another pharmacy when time is of the essence."
The Post also misses the fact that while there are surely individual pharmacists with sincere beliefs here, those people are being used by a larger political movement concerned with controlling women.
Goddamn. Anyway, this is a REALLY important issue, because it's yet another attempt to chip away at women's reproductive rights in practice if not in law. (Though I should note here that CONTRACEPTION is not ABORTION. If anything, it prevents abortion, yeesh.)
P.S. Yes, I'm actually blogging again. No, I'm not sure how frequently this will occur, but probably more frequently than in say, the last few months.