Posted by: bridget | 28 July 2007

Moral Schizophrenia

Two pharmacists in Washington have sued the state over a law which governs emergency contraception. Under that law, a pharmacist who has moral issues with dispensing the medication may refuse to do so, so long as another pharmacist in the store can dispense it. The law requires that a patient be able to receive the drug during the original visit.

Pharmacists in Illinois, Texas, and Wisconsin have been fired from their jobs for refusing to stock this drug. Massachusetts and Illinois laws require pharmacies to stock the drug (although they do not require pharmacies to stock any other type of drug).

All of these laws and policies are a result of the modern Leftist agenda. The theory is that pharmacists have no moral duty to unborn children; their jobs consist solely of providing patients with medication. While the pachyderm is loathe to grant pharmacists the same rights as physicians, who have developed lengthy relationships with their patients and have made a medical determination as to the necessity of the drug, she finds many of these regulations to be morally schizophrenic:

Consider that a bar is legally liable if it serves too much alcohol to its patrons, although its job is to provide its customers with drinks. Likewise, hosts are also responsible for the damage that their guests may do to others upon leaving their homes. Gun sellers may be legally liable for the sale of a firearm to a minor or “unfit buyer.” The manufacturers and owners of firearms are also liable for problems that result from their use. Psychiatrists are liable for harm resulting from a patient’s actions, if they had known or should have known that the patient was an imminent threat.

All of these laws place limits on what people may do in the ordinary course of business, due to the potential of harm to a third party. Yet, emergency contraception laws are silent on the harm done to an embryo; indeed, the pharmacist is prohibited from considering that harm before dispensing the medication. Is it simply because there will be no person to bring a tort claim for the dispensation of this drug? There are plenty of accident victims (or the families thereof) who are willing to sue firearm sellers, manufacturers, or owners; bar owners; or psychiatrists, but no one has the legal standing to sue over a terminated pregnancy.

It is absolutely asinine to, on one hand, prohibit gun dealers from selling a gun to a person, in accordance with his constitutional right, but to prohibit a pharmacist from exercising his conscience to protect a third party from imminent harm. The only thing that either restriction does is dictate the elements of the pharmacist’s or the firearms seller’s conscience.

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Responses

  1. Hopefully Washington’s law will get fixed. That’s a rather dubious compromise – “You don’t have to dispense the medicine to kill a human being as long as your co-worker doesn’t mind. Oops – he is on vacation – looks like you have to be an accessory to murder today.”

    I really feel for the pharmacists caught in this dilemma. The pro-legalized-abortionists don’t want anything in any law that would hint that abortion wasn’t a moral good.

  2. Not that I’m pro abortion but I think all the lawsuits are wrong.Responsibility anyone ? As far as the pharmacists as businesses they should be allowed to stock and dispense the approved meds they want.You touched on it with this:

    Massachusetts and Illinois laws require pharmacies to stock the drug (although they do not require pharmacies to stock any other type of drug).

    There are pharmacies that don’t stock oxycotin due to safety risks to their facility.
    The pro abortion folks can easily find pharmacies that will dispense to them.

  3. A read an excellent post the other day that posed an interesting question. What if all the people who expressed shock and outrage over the conditions faced by dogs on Mike Vick’s property were as vocal in their opposition to abortion? What if we didn’t take for granted that the unborn could be chopped up then sucked out of the womb? Since when has the life of a dog (and own and love two great dogs) been worth more than an unborn human child?

  4. Yes TT,
    I’ve had some real freaky comments on my Michael Vic post. I had to delete and block some of them this morning. Do I think these same people are against abortion? Doubt it.

  5. “The pro abortion folks can easily find pharmacies that will dispense to them.”

    Yes, but having a pharmacist refuse to dispense the drug might make someone think twice about using it.

    It seems to be the attitude of a lot of politicians that it is bad enought that some people might have moral convictions, but we sure don’t want to do anything that might make people think about it.

  6. Neil,

    “….Looks like you have to be an accessory to murder today.”,

    Pretty much. It is so strange – in other areas, you are treated as an accessory if you do your job; here, you are prohibited from exercising your conscience.

    In2theFray,

    As far as the pharmacists as businesses they should be allowed to stock and dispense the approved meds they want.

    EXACTLY! That was going to be the subject of a new post. The free market has a solution for this dilemna: stores can stock it if they choose; pharmacists who don’t want to dispense it can work at those stores or work out agreements with their employers. It’s crazy that the State feels the need to get involved to this degree.

    TT ~

    Good question. I’ve often wondered why the Left is more sympathetic to animals than to humans. Shall we start PETF?

    Tammi ~

    Very sorry to hear that you’ve gotten such bad comments. They are probably “pro-choice,” except when the choice is to harm a puppy.

    SST ~

    Good point. Now, if a bartender refuses to serve you, that’s a sign that you need to sober up.

  7. Emergency contraception does not terminate a pregnancy. That’s why you have to take it within 72 hours of having unprotected sex/birth control failure.

  8. Very true. Good thing no one is arguing that. :)

    EC works via two mechanisms:
    1) preventing ovulation; and
    2) preventing implantation of a fertlised egg (i.e. a human being).

    It is the latter option that many people find to be morally repulsive.

  9. But you did argue that. You referred to it as a “terminated pregnancy” in your post:

    There are plenty of accident victims (or the families thereof) who are willing to sue firearm sellers, manufacturers, or owners; bar owners; or psychiatrists, but no one has the legal standing to sue over a terminated pregnancy.

    Do you find the use of birth control pills to be morally repulsive?

  10. No, I don’t. Cheap shots not allowed.

    I’m sorry if I was not clear: my complaint extends to abortion as well. The problem with EC, which I really didn’t feel like explicating for the sake of emotional pro-choicers, is that you can’t be sure if she had conceived, and, even if she had, if the pregnancy would have made it to term.

  11. Should I re-write it? I do want to be clear.

    This is an honest question. My blog, my rules: answer it.

  12. I wasn’t trying to take a cheap shot. I asked about birth control because EC is just a stronger dose of the hormones that are in birth control pills. So if you find EC morally repulsive, I would think you would also find birth control pills morally repulsive. I was just trying to get clarification.

    As for rewriting the post, *shrug*. That’s up to you, I guess. It appeared to me that you were saying EC terminates a pregnancy.

  13. Raging Red:

    I am not against EC. I can understand how people are, though, and will stick up for their right to act morally. This is the subject of a future post that I keep meaning to write.

    My understanding is that EC works by preventing implantation, sometimes, while the Pill works almost exclusively by preventing ovulation. There is the open question of whether or not the Pill stops implantation (especially since the new pills have very low doses of hormones). As such, I can really understand how people would be against EC but not the Pill.

    The better question is if people are who are against EC are against IUDs.

  14. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you
    Idetrorce


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