Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Illinois Governor Blagojevich Denies Pharmacists' Conscience

Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently filed an emergency order requiring pharmacies to issue prescription contraceptives, even if a pharmacist has moral opposition. Pharmacies are required by this order to either provide another pharmacist to fill the prescription or to fill the prescription with another pharmacy of the patient's choice.

According to the Governor: "Our regulation says that if a woman goes to a pharmacy with a prescription for birth control, the pharmacy or the pharmacist is not allowed to discriminate or to choose who he sells it to or who he doesn't sell it to, the pharmacy will be expected to accept that prescription and fill it. No delays. No hassles. No lectures."

No freedom of conscience, and no freedom of speech. If a pharmacist does not comply, he is guilty of discrimination, which is one way of saying that he is guilty of a hate crime. The pharmacist also cannot do his job, which may include checking for drug interactions, since he cannot choose who he sells it to. Note that he says "woman", although a man my be picking up the pills for his girlfriend, so perhaps he is trying to imply class conflict. And his tone is completely nonconciliatory, showing contempt.

A spokesman said that pharmacists have an obligation to provide women with good health care. How about men and children? And are businessmen obliged to do things against their conscience? And what if a pharmacist thinks that some contraceptives are bad for a patient's health? Or the health of possible children that the woman may unknowingly be carrying?

The Governor made this ruling when a pharmacist refused to provide so-called emergency contraception.

The New York Times says that this is “an intolerable abuse of power by pharmacists who have no business forcing their own moral or ethical views onto customers who may not share them...any pharmacists who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed by a doctor should find another line of work.” So instead, the State will impose its moral and ethical views on the pharmacist, even if this is a violation of his freedom of religion, and the Times suggests that he should be forced out of his profession for ideological reasons.

The order is effective immediately, and lasts for 150 days, when the Governor will try to implement a permanent rule.

The Chicago Area Planned Parenthood is delighted with the ruling.

Four states have laws allowing freedom of conscience, while four other states have laws that prohibit this freedom.


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