Double Standards At The Pharmacy Counter
April 5, 2005 - 2:46pm ET
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A recent news story in The Washington Post detailed a phenomenon that was documented by Planned Parenthood last year: Some pharmacists are refusing to fill women's prescriptions for birth-control pills based on their opposition to contraception. In fact, in several states, pharmacists who refuse aren't breaking the law. Those states have "refusal clauses" that make it legal for individual pharmacists to refuse filling prescriptions for medicines to which they're morally opposed. So far, that seems to pretty much exclusively mean birth-control and morning-after pills. No one is refusing to fill prescriptions for Viagra or Levitra, which are obviously prescribed specifically for having sex. It seems to me that the double standard here is pretty obvious: Prescription drugs that assist men in having sex are a-okay. Prescription drugs that allow women to have sex are morally wrong. (Because for many women—perhaps even most—sex without reliable contraception is not a valid option.) Stop filling those prescriptions and you might just get a large number of women—especially unmarried women—to abstain. The religious right hasn't done anything, ever, to convince me that's not what they're working toward.
The bottom line: When a patient and doctor decide a prescription is necessary, the pharmacy shouldn't stand in the way—for birth-control pills or any other drug. If you'd like to take action on this issue, NARAL Pro-Choice America has started a campaign to pressure America's biggest pharmacies (Wal-Mart, CVS, Eckerd, Rite Aid and Walgreen's) to guarantee patients can have their prescriptions filled without delay.
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