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Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Pharmacist Debate in the NY Times

The NY Times had an interesting article examining the pharmacist debate this morning.

Pharmacies Balk on After-Sex Pill and Widen Fight in Many States CHICAGO, April 18 - As a fourth-generation pharmacist whose drugstore still sits on the courthouse square of his conservative small town downstate, State Senator Frank Watson knew exactly what side to take when Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich ordered pharmacies to fill prescriptions for women wanting the new "morning after" pill, even if it meant putting aside their employees' personal views. "The governor is trying to make a decision that must be left to the pharmacy," said Senator Watson, whose family business, Watson's Drug Store in Greenville, Ill., does not stock the pill. "It's an infringement on a business decision and also on the pharmacist's right of conscience." Senator Watson, the Republican leader of the Senate, and Governor Blagojevich, a Democrat, are the latest combatants in a growing battle over emergency contraception. In at least 23 states, legislators and other elected officials have passed laws or are considering measures in a debate that has attracted many of the same advocates and prompted much of the same intensity as the fight over abortion. In some states, legislators are pushing laws that would explicitly grant pharmacists the right to refuse to dispense drugs related to contraception or abortion on moral grounds. Others want to require pharmacies to fill any legal prescription for birth control, much like Governor Blagojevich's emergency rule in Illinois, which requires pharmacies that stock the morning-after pill to dispense it without delay. And in some states, there are proposals or newly enacted laws to make the morning-after pill more accessible, by requiring hospitals to offer it to rape victims or allowing certain pharmacists to sell it without a prescription. full article (registration required)

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