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(Minneapolis Star Tribune)   Minnesota pharmacist refuses to fill birth-control prescription because she's morally opposed to it   (startribune.com) divider line 1077
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17731 clicks; posted to Main » on 03 May 2005 at 3:03 PM (9 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2005-05-03 01:06:47 PM  
And if she did, and she told the pharmacist about her condition, and the pharmacist still did not fill the prescription, then the situation would be different.

She has no obligation to disclose her medical condition to the pharmacist. He's not an MD. It's not his realm.
 
2005-05-03 01:06:55 PM  
ArcadianRefugee

Answer this for me. Let's say - and I realize this would never happen - that all of the pharmacists in the country decide they are opposed to handing out birth control. The drug is legal. Doctors prescribe it. Do you still think that would be ok? Once again, I'm being purely hypothetical.
 
2005-05-03 01:07:31 PM  
ArcadianRefugee

Not everyone lives in a place with multiple pharmacies. Also, many cases of this sort of thing happening involve the pharmacist refusing to hand the scrip back.

It's denial of medical assistance, and that is illegal. You don't drive around to the area ERs comparison shopping when you have a medical need, do you?
 
2005-05-03 01:07:45 PM  
2wheeljunkie:

Let me get this straight. You people who are defending this pharmacist think that she doesn't have to perform her duties according to the pharmacist's code?

Yes I am. I don't agree with her, but I fully support her right to adhere to her own moral code.
 
2005-05-03 01:09:49 PM  
2wheeljunkie: You people who are defending this pharmacist think that she doesn't have to perform her duties according to the pharmacist's code?

IMHO, the physician's oath trumps the pill-counter's. I'm on the fence as far as legislation goes. I think it's too early in this new crusade to see ill effects of moral dispensing of medications.
 
2005-05-03 01:10:20 PM  
onecanshort: So if a pharmacist is under little obligation to provide meds, then what the fark do we even have them for?

For the same reason that a restaurant is under little obligation to serve you food ("We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"). It is a business. If they are conducting their business legally, and it is simply that you do not like the way they conduct their business, shop elsewhere. No one is forcing you to go there.
 
2005-05-03 01:10:48 PM  
By the logic of those defending this, a hotel could refuse to rent rooms to non-whites people because its "up to the market" and the hotel's "personal freedom."

That is baloney. A pharmacy is a regulated industry and a public accomodation. It therefore can't discriminate based upon the personal religious beliefs of the pharmacist to deny someone what has been deemed a fundamental right (see Griswold v. Connecticut). The "freedom" here is the freedom not to become a pharmacist if you are going to persist in injecting your own beliefs into something that is none of your damn business. Just count the pills from the big bottle and put them in the little bottle idiot.
 
2005-05-03 01:10:49 PM  
huenix:

Yes I am. I don't agree with her, but I fully support her right to adhere to her own moral code.

So it's OK to rewrite the rules for your job based on a personal agenda? That's a mighty slippery slope there.
 
2005-05-03 01:10:59 PM  
ArcadianRefugee:

How is this taking someone's freedom? The patient still has the right to secure the medicine.

That's right, damnit. And why did those folks complain about having to use a Colored water fountain when it gave the same cool, refreshing water that a White one did?

/sarcasm

This is a simple matter of the pharmacist discriminating and should be treated as such, and not handled with kid gloves because it's couched in some sort of religious patina.
 
2005-05-03 01:11:30 PM  
No one is forcing you to go there.

My HMO forced me to go to one pharmacy, at least if I wanted my prescriptions filled. I guess I did have the option of not filling my prescriptions.
 
2005-05-03 01:12:53 PM  
huenix:

Bzzzzt. Wrong. I know many doctors who would not prescribe the morning-after pill. They don't have to. And you can't do anything about it. They can send the patient elsewhere, and not governmental body has the legal right to force a doctor to treat a patient for this.

If that is true then there is the consistency in the process that I'm looking for. I just don't see how there could possibly be different regulations for prescribing something than there are for the product being available.

You just don't say to someone "Here is what you need for your health, now good luck finding it !".
 
2005-05-03 01:14:34 PM  
2wheeljunkie: personal agenda

Personal agenda and moral beliefs are two different things. Yes, its a slippery slope, but its a free country and neither you or the government has any right to tell me that I must do something I deem morally wrong, so long as it does not harm someone else..
 
2005-05-03 01:14:37 PM  
guess you missed the part about the customer being denied the freedom to fill a legal prescription for birth control.

Nope, that same customer is still free to fill that prescription somewhere else.
 
2005-05-03 01:15:48 PM  
For the same reason that a restaurant is under little obligation to serve you food ("We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone").

I think it's been made clear that the particular sign doesn't apply to discrimation based on race/gender/religious beliefs/etc. I'm positive there's a slew of lawsuits out there that has long since proven that.

The spirit of the sign is now meant to say if you're being an asshole, disruptive and rude, we will not serve you. But I think even that could potentially change, given the US and their lawsuit-happy tendencies.
 
2005-05-03 01:17:19 PM  
soze: Not everyone lives in a place with multiple pharmacies. Also, many cases of this sort of thing happening involve the pharmacist refusing to hand the scrip back.

Again, the only state with whose laws and policies regarding this sort of thing is Illinois. In Illinois an individual pharmacist is allowed to refuse a prescription on moral grounds BUT they must not prevent you from having it filled in general -- they must either get another pharmacist to fill it for you, or give you back your scrip and show you to another pharmacy. Presumably, that latter has a caveat about distance. A pharmacist not following those rules can and will have their license revoked.

It's denial of medical assistance, and that is illegal. You don't drive around to the area ERs comparison shopping when you have a medical need, do you?

Bit of a difference between emergency medical needs and getting a prescription filled, no?

Tizzle McMizzle: Answer this for me. Let's say - and I realize this would never happen - that all of the pharmacists in the country decide they are opposed to handing out birth control. The drug is legal. Doctors prescribe it. Do you still think that would be ok?

Then presumably the various Pharmacists Associations would take action as that then becomes an actual issue of denying a person the right to a medication (since only pharmacists can handle the stuff). As it is with things now, that right is not being interfered with as the woman can still get the meds.
 
2005-05-03 01:18:17 PM  
I'll remember that in the event that gas stations switch to diesel only, and your closest unleaded pump is a 2 hour drive away.

You and I will both be old and senile by the time that happens. So if you're going to "remember that," you better write yourself a note now.
 
2005-05-03 01:18:26 PM  
So if you had an affliction that made your balls swell to the size of coconuts and cause serious pain, and The Pill that made that stop, would you really just go "oh, I'll find a different pharmacy" and NOT be pissed off if this asshole pharmacist took your scrip away and gave you a sanctimonious lecture about killing babies? Tell me how you would feel about that pharmacist's rights trumping yours. Really, be honest.
 
2005-05-03 01:18:38 PM  
A Midnight Bout of Frenzied Concupiscence:

Nope, that same customer is still free to fill that prescription somewhere else.

"Separate but Equal" has long since been debunked in the United States, btw.

/just sayin
 
2005-05-03 01:19:10 PM  
Occams_Electric_Razor: This is a simple matter of the pharmacist discriminating

Disrcimination is not illegal, only discrimination based on gender, age, and a few other factors is.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2005-05-03 01:19:26 PM  
A pharmacy is a regulated industry and a public accomodation. It therefore can't discriminate based upon the personal religious beliefs of the pharmacist to deny someone what has been deemed a fundamental right (see Griswold v. Connecticut).

The pharmacy's voluntary acts are not state action and are not regulated by the Supreme Court's notion of what constitutes a fundamental right this year.

Any remedy must be found in statutes or regulations. Antidiscrimination laws generally applicable to businesses don't seem to cover this case. There may be regulations requiring that all prescriptions be filled. Supposedly Massachusetts does -- at least the Attorney General says so -- but the pharmacy closest to me still has a sign on the door saying "we no longer stock Oxycontin."
 
2005-05-03 01:20:18 PM  
Bit of a difference between emergency medical needs and getting a prescription filled, no?

No. There are time-sensitive drugs that must be taken consistently. When I was given my BC scrip for my cysts, I was told to go to my pharmacy immediately and start the pill cycle. These things matter when you're dealing with hormones.
 
2005-05-03 01:21:03 PM  
ArcadianRefugee:

Disrcimination is not illegal, only discrimination based on gender, age, and a few other factors is.

This is discrimination based on the pharmacist's religious beliefs and should therefore be illegal.
 
2005-05-03 01:21:06 PM  
Dammit soze ... I couldn't find a "Your Testicles and You" screencap from Johnny Dangerously.
 
2005-05-03 01:21:11 PM  
One more thing we forget to mention is the potential for abuse.

Man 1: "Hmm. Did you realize that if we didn't cover birth control, we would save a million dollars every year?"
Man 2: "I knew I was morally opposed to birth control for a good reason!"


This kind of "potential" argument is silly unless there is evidence to back it up. Otherwise, it's just blind paranoia.
 
2005-05-03 01:21:48 PM  
Could I, if I were a pharmacy owner, be sued with a reasonable expectation of losing if I fired this person for not filling the prescription (in that I was discriminating based on religion)?

Could I be sued if I began asking applicants if they had moral objections to filling prescriptions for birth control or morning after pills and reject them if they said they did (again, for religious discrimination)?

Anyone know where the law actually falls on that part of the question?
 
2005-05-03 01:22:23 PM  
Occams_Electric_Razor: "Separate but Equal" has long since been debunked in the United States, btw.

They are not discriminating against the patient. Nor is there "sexually promiscuous patients only" pharmacies. The whores (for need of something shorter than the above "sexually promiscuous patients") can still get other meds at the pharmacies that won't dispense these meds.
 
2005-05-03 01:22:30 PM  
ArcadianRefugee: Bit of a difference between emergency medical needs and getting a prescription filled, no?

Not getting the prescription filled could lead to a medical emergency in many cases. It's simply not up to the pharmacist, whose only knowledge of the patient or their medical history is a sloppily written script, to make half-baked decisions involving peoples' health based on their religous dogma, even if they have the right to do so.

I'm not for legislating this yet, but I am for the town grabbing this woman and hanging her in the town square.
 
2005-05-03 01:23:02 PM  
By the logic of those defending this, a hotel could refuse to rent rooms to non-whites people because its "up to the market" and the hotel's "personal freedom."

That's stretching it a bit, don't you think. No one is being discriminated against because of race. Let's keeps this on topic without playing the race card please.
 
2005-05-03 01:23:08 PM  
Jesus, AMBoFC, you do like to jump in on the most inane side of an argument and push it to the limit. Somebody has posed to you a valid question, which you've characteristically ducked, but I'd like you hear you explain yourself on it:

Why do you think that limiting somebody else's ability to get legally prescribed medication is an issue of personal freedom? It's the pharmacist with her panties in a knot - why should somebody else have to do extra work to make up for it? Isn't that pretty much the opposite of freedom?

/good of the many, good of the few, etc.
 
2005-05-03 01:23:37 PM  
Let me clear something up; Pharmacists aren't MD's but they are Doctors. Pharmacists are required to earn a Pharm.D. (Doctor of Pharmacy) degree in order to be licensed. The asshat behind the counter (assuming she is a Pharmacist and not a tech) is well aware of medical (non-contraceptive) reason for prescribing oral contraceptives.

/did not RTFA - too much trouble to register
 
2005-05-03 01:24:15 PM  
My HMO forced me to go to one pharmacy, at least if I wanted my prescriptions filled. I guess I did have the option of not filling my prescriptions.

You just said you had an alternative pharmacy that would fill it 2 hours away. Come on, stick to the truth of what you said earlier.
 
2005-05-03 01:24:45 PM  
ArcadianRefugee
For the same reason that a restaurant is under little obligation to serve you food ("We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone"). It is a business. If they are conducting their business legally, and it is simply that you do not like the way they conduct their business, shop elsewhere. No one is forcing you to go there.

Apples to Oranges.

A Pharmacist is a licensed professional.
A waiter is not.

The only case where that analogy applies is if this was a privately owned and operated pharmacy and the OWNER refused to stock certain meds. That is perfectly fine, however, it is not the case here. This pharmacist needs a hot cup of STFU and a side of GBTW.
 
2005-05-03 01:24:53 PM  
Occams_Electric_Razor: This is discrimination based on the pharmacist's religious beliefs and should therefore be illegal.

EVERYONE makes decisions and discriminates based on their beliefs, religious or no. To say the ones based on the religious should be illegal is, well, illegal.
 
2005-05-03 01:25:05 PM  
Bank Teller: I'm sorry sir, I cannot give you the entire amount you have requested.
Customer: Er ... why not?
Bank Teller: Well sir, I'm morally opposed to anyone carrying more than $100 cash. Jesus said that a caravan of camels would go through the eye of a needle more easily than a rich man going to heaven, and I'd hate for you to go to hell.
Customer: ....
Bank Teller: God bless you sir.
 
2005-05-03 01:25:34 PM  
"Separate but Equal" has long since been debunked in the United States, btw.

This is note about race.

/just sayin'
 
2005-05-03 01:25:57 PM  
I take birth control soley because I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) several years back. If I don't take the pills, I could suffer serious health consequences. I would LOVE to try and get my prescription filled by one of these assholes. I'd have court papers on their desk the next day.
 
2005-05-03 01:26:34 PM  
rajin5b3:

Could I, if I were a pharmacy owner, be sued with a reasonable expectation of losing if I fired this person for not filling the prescription (in that I was discriminating based on religion)?

Could I be sued if I began asking applicants if they had moral objections to filling prescriptions for birth control or morning after pills and reject them if they said they did (again, for religious discrimination)?


I would think you would be fine in either case. While there may be some religious association with why you fired/didn't hire them, the reason you did so was that they would be unable to perform the functions of the job as described (filling prescriptions for customers). I'm willing to bet a court will have to answer this question in the near future for you.
 
2005-05-03 01:26:49 PM  
ArcadianRefugee

They are not discriminating against the patient. Nor is there "sexually promiscuous patients only" pharmacies. The whores (for need of something shorter than the above "sexually promiscuous patients") can still get other meds at the pharmacies that won't dispense these meds.

Jesus Christ. You're really not getting the fact that birth control is not the only reason these pills are prescribed, are you.
 
2005-05-03 01:27:47 PM  
This is discrimination based on the pharmacist's religious beliefs and should therefore be illegal.

If that's illegal, then we lose freedoms.

The old rule of "We reserve the right to refuse service" will be null and void.

I don't want to live in a gulag, thank you.
 
2005-05-03 01:28:11 PM  
The pharmacy's voluntary acts are not state action and are not regulated by the Supreme Court's notion of what constitutes a fundamental right this year.

This is a misunderstanding of the law regarding public accomodations. It doesn't require state action, just discrimination in any place that offers goods or services to the public. This is essentially discrimination based upon religion used to deny a fundamental right (have no idea what you mean by "this year," the right to birth control has been deemed a fundamental right for 40 years).
 
2005-05-03 01:28:35 PM  
ArcadianRefugee: They are not discriminating against the patient.

They most certainly are because they're refusing service. I don't understand why it's so difficult for you to see.

If it was a white refusing a black or an Israeli refusing a Palestinian you'd likely not have a problem, but when it's a Christian zealot refusing someone who isn't you suddenly have a blind spot.
 
2005-05-03 01:29:10 PM  
The cops would have to haul me away if this happened to me. A "scene" would be a mild description of what would happen next if some bible thumping shiatbag refused a prescription for personal reasons.
 
2005-05-03 01:29:36 PM  
A friend of mine is a pharmacist. She recently told me that pharmacists can no longer give medical advice of any sort, ie "Will ___ work for ___?" b/c of lawsuits due to faulty advice and the like. Hell they cant even talk to a patient regarding the script over the phone (You cannot call up and ask "Is this ready yet?", they can only respond with "You have to come in" even when they call you to tell you its ready they have to say "this is ___ over at the pharmacy, can you please stop by?")

With all that bullcrap in place, i cant imagine how this is even close to legal, but rest assured I have emailed her and I cannot wait to hear what she says.
 
2005-05-03 01:29:42 PM  
onecanshort: A Pharmacist is a licensed professional. A waiter is not.

A pharmacist gets a license to distribute medications. A restaurateur gets a license to distribute food. The waiters have little to do with this.

mediaho: It's simply not up to the pharmacist, whose only knowledge of the patient or their medical history is a sloppily written script, to make half-baked decisions involving peoples' health based on their religous dogma, even if they have the right to do so.

Actually, many times the pharmacist knows more about the people's health than does the doctor. A pharmacist can see how often you refill a prescription. A pharmacist can see what other medications you currently have prescribed you. Your doctor does not. I can go to a dozen doctors in the next 4 weeks and get a dozen prescriptions for a oxycontin. The pharmacists control how many of those prescriptions actually get filled, or at least have them all recorded.
 
2005-05-03 01:31:29 PM  
From http://www.4woman.gov/faq/pcos.htm:

Women with PCOS can be at an increased risk for developing several other conditions. Irregular menstrual periods and the absence of ovulation cause women to produce the hormone estrogen, but not the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, which causes the endometrium to shed each month as a menstrual period, the endometrium becomes thick, which can cause heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding. Eventually, this can lead to endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Getting the symptoms under control at an earlier age may help to reduce this risk.
 
2005-05-03 01:31:52 PM  
ArcadianRefugee: Actually, many times the pharmacist knows more about the people's health than does the doctor. A pharmacist can see how often you refill a prescription. A pharmacist can see what other medications you currently have prescribed you. Your doctor does not. I can go to a dozen doctors in the next 4 weeks and get a dozen prescriptions for a oxycontin. The pharmacists control how many of those prescriptions actually get filled, or at least have them all recorded.

If there was a health issue, where the pharmacist saw the patient was taking too many birth control pills, your point would have some kind of meaning in this situation.
 
2005-05-03 01:32:01 PM  
C'mon, AMBoFC, man up and explain how refusing to fill a legal prescription for someone based on your personal religious beliefs is preventing us from living in a gulag. Or can you?
 
2005-05-03 01:33:19 PM  
mediaho: If there was a health issue, where the pharmacist saw the patient was taking too many birth control pills, your point would have some kind of meaning in this situation.

Or if it was conflicting with other, prescribed medications, etc.
 
2005-05-03 01:33:30 PM  
Vorticity: Don't forget that it's only a slippery slope if we're sliding in a direction you don't like :)
 
2005-05-03 01:33:55 PM  
A Midnight Bout of Frenzied Concupiscence


Good for the pharmacist.

I like freedom, don't you?


From the article:

"Some legislatures are reviewing new bills that would grant pharmacists protection from lawsuits or disciplinary action for refusing to dispense contraceptives."

Free? Tell that to the Pharmacy owner or chain who is forced by some soon-to-be-passed bill to retain a pharmacist who has willingly chosen to not fulfill their job responsibilities. I don't see that as "free".

Gee, I wish that, as someone who works from time to time in Internet advertising, I could simply tell my client, "no, we refuse to serve these ads because, even though their content does not break any written codes or rulesets, I nonetheless object to the product and its message. So I shall not serve them. Good luck.

Then, when my boss tells me he's going to let me go, I can sue the pants off him.

That's awesome.
 
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