Chad over at Freak Machine Press has point me to an article published in the Monterey Herald, regarding a bill that would require pharmacists to sell contraceptives, even if it went against their beliefs. The bill is being vehemently opposed by organizations such as Pharmacists for Life. (Levine is also putting forth a law that would allow physician-assisted suicide.)
By HARRISON SHEPPARD
SACRAMENTO - Pharmacists would be required to fill prescriptions for contraceptives even when it goes against their religious or moral beliefs under a bill proposed by Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys.
The issue has become increasingly controversial across the country, particularly in more conservative areas of the South and Midwest, where some pharmacists have refused to dispense birth-control or ''morning-after'' pills, and about a dozen states have passed laws to protect them.
While the debate has yet to ignite in California, Levine is looking to tackle the issue before it does.
''A pharmacist's job is to fill the prescription that a doctor prescribes for a patient,'' Levine said. ''The relationship is between the doctor and patient, not the pharmacist and patient. If we allow them to decide which prescriptions to fill and not to fill, it creates a whole lot of problems.''
The bill is still in early form and would not penalize pharmacists who refuse to provide contraceptives.
A group representing pharmacists objecting to contraceptives said pharmacists should retain the right to make their own decisions based on their beliefs and their clinical judgments.
''California will get the pharmacist shortage it deserves if you all pass that bill,'' said Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists For Life International. ''Because if you want to take away the pharmacist's dispensing authority -- the pharmacist's ability to make clinical decisions -- you won't need any pharmacists out there.''
Brauer added that she opposes birth control because she does not feel the hormone-based pills are safe for women and she objects to the social consequences.
''Birth control serves to make women sexually available to men at the convenience of men and not at the most convenient time necessarily for women. It's really to place women at the service of men.''
Assembly Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, said the state shouldn't decide what pharmacists should or should not sell.
''Now the state government is going to start dictating what we have in pharmacies?'' he said. ''I don't think we're the best to do that. I think the consumer and the free market have determined what sells inside a business. I'm not into telling pharmacies what they have to sell.''