Missouri May Allow Pharmacists to Just Say No

May 3, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More

Need the pill? If you live in Missouri, and your pharmacist disagrees with your doctor about your reproductive needs, you’re stuck. No recourse.

That is, if an amended bill passed in the House makes it to law this week. According to this,

The amendment is similar to “conscience legislation” passed in other states that protects pharmacists who object to dispensing birth control medication.

Let your legislators know whether you think personal medical decsions should be up to doctors and patients, or churches acting through politicians.


Category: American Culture, Civil Rights, Health, Law, Medicine, Politics, Religion, Reproductive Rights, Sex

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

Comments (5)

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  1. Tony Coyle says:

    Dan – I have very strong feelings about this.

    As a 'service professional' (aka a consultant) I am often faced with ethical choices about my potential clients (do I work for a tobacco company? what about an arms manufacturer? what about companies who operate sweat-shops?).

    In some cases I can juggle responsibilities, so that I can avoid such personal dilemmas (I swap with colleagues for whom the client is not an issue, etc.). I do the same for others (taking a meat packing client, in place of a vegan colleague!). But in many (most) cases, such a choice is not possible. I then have a stark choice. Do I service the client (against my personal beliefs) or do I refuse?

    Simply put – I have an obligation to my company, and to those who hire my company which means that I occasionally need to make that difficult choice – and I choose to work. The alternative is that I refuse – which makes me less valuable to my company, and I would eventually (correctly) lose my job since I would be unable to adequately perform the duties of the job.

    As a service professional, I know the nature of my business and of the possible client base. I could choose a completely different, or narrower, field that would afford fewer opportunities professionally (and lots less remuneration) but I could salve my conscience. Or I can admit that I chose my field as an adult, with my eyes open to the negatives as well as the positives, and simply 'suck it up'. Take the good with the bad.

    I always have the choice to leave my job and seek one with fewer 'challenges'.

    That (stay & do, or don't do & leave) should be the only choice open to anyone who is a service professional – doctor, nurse, pharmacist, policeman, fireman, soldier, whatever.

    You do the job. You don't pick and choose according to whim or belief. If your beliefs get in the way of you doing the job – find another job.

    These people simply piss me off.

  2. glinda says:

    I didn't know there were so many old-school-Catholics in Missouri.

  3. Erika Price says:

    The rationale behind this bill, I would assume, is that an individual has the right to act in accordance with their religious beliefs, and find themselves free from repercussions when doing so in the workplace.

    All that it takes to dismantle this argument is one dedicated Scientologist who gets a pharmacy degree. Since Scientologists don't believe in psychiatric drugs, they should be able to deny Zoloft and Wellbutrin and Lithium left and right.

    Of course pharmacists have the 'freedom' to refuse to perform their job. That does not mean the state should protect them from the consequences of their choice. Too bad that this bill hones in on pharmacists denying birth control specifically- if it protected the right of a medical professional to deny service on the basis of faith, the ensuing chaos would immediately take the air out of the movement.

  4. Erich Vieth says:

    Erika: Your Scientology example is perfect. Imagine the uproar if Scientologists hid behind the banner of "personal conscience" while refusing to dispense properly prescribed psychoactive drugs.

    Your post inspired me to check out the many religions that mostly or entirely discourage medical treatment. There are quite a few of them. What a member of one of those religions decided to become a health professional with severely limited ability to offer the services the public expects from such professionals? Here's the link to an comprehensive article by Religious Tolerance: http://www.religioustolerance.org/medical8.htm

    The list includes:

    The Body (a.k.a. "The Body of Christ"): This is a small Fundamentalist Christian faith group in Attleboro MA

    Bible Readers Fellowship: This is a small, Evangelical Christian group in Florida.

    Church of the First Born: This group is mainly active in Colorado and Oklahoma.

    End Time Ministries: They have lost several members in a number of states

    Faith Assembly

    Full Gospel Deliverance Church: A member from Fayetteville, N.C.,

    Faith Tabernacle Congregation: This is a Fundamentalist Christian congregation based in Philadelphia PA.

    Christ Church: This is a church with about 1200 followers in Portland, OR.

    Grace Baptist Church

    Home in Zion Ministries

    Snake Handling Sects: They expose themselves to be bitten by poisonous snakes. They allow their natural defenses to battle the poison; they do not seek medical attention.

    Unidentified Florida religious group

    Unidentified New Zealand religious group

    Other American religious groups: Time Magazine reviewed the rising death toll of children in the U.S. due to the refusal of their parents to obtain medial assistance. In an article titled "Freedom of Rellgion or State-Sanctioned Child Abuse," they reported: "At the center of controversy are Congregants of Church of Christ, Scientist, along with members of other, smaller sects, including the Followers of Christ Church and the General Assembly and Church of the First Born. All are staunchly opposed to medical intervention in the case of illness, preferring instead to depend upon prayer to do the healing.

  5. Tony Coyle says:

    Faith healing: aka evolution in action.

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