Dahlia Lithwick at Slate makes one of the most solid and comprehensive arguments against pharmacists having a right to refuse to dispense emergency conception on moral grounds that I have seen.

[P]harmacists are not physicians. . . . for a pharmacist to subordinate a physician’s judgment to his own is the height of arrogance. Reports from around the country–of pharmacists delivering hectoring lectures, discriminating against unmarried women, or refusing to return prescription forms to be filled elsewhere–reveal what happens when pharmacists are allowed to interpose their own values between a physician’s medical judgment and the needs of her patient. Does the guy who drives the Pfizer delivery van hold an analogous right to be a conscientious objector? . . . The law cannot always be called on to immunize us from our decisions to take the law into our own hands. That’s why Ellen Goodman pointed out last week that the very definition of “conscientious objector” includes the proposition that you may well suffer consequences for your protest. “In a conflict between your job and your ethics, you can quit,” she writes. If you don’t believe an FDA-approved drug should be legal, work at the Dairy Queen.

She also notes that “Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed a 150-day emergency rule requiring drugstores to either fill prescriptions or otherwise accommodate their patients.”
In my own Colorado, our Republican Governor Owens vetoed a law (sponsored by my own state senator) that would have simply required that emergency rooms inform rape victims of the existence of emergency contraception.

This was supposed to protect the rights of Catholic Hospitals to practice their religion.  But, whose rights are more important: The rights of a corporation to practice its religion, or the rights of the ER staff who are being gagged by their employer to the extent that they cannot meet the standard of care for their profession, and the right of their patients who are rape victims to prevent a potential pregancy forced upon them at the butt of a gun.  Republicans just don’t care about women who have been raped.

Well, the Governor of Colorado doesn’t anyway.  Plenty of Republicans in the state legislature did support establishing notification of the existence of emergency contraception as part of the standard of care for treating rape victims, and plenty of people who are opposed to even abortion in general, both don’t have a problem with emergency contraception, which is simply a high dose birth control pill administered shortly after the incident in question, and don’t have a problem even with abortion in a rape case, something that happens in 50% of pregnancies that result from rape.

As was the case during the Republican overreach in the Terri Schiavo case, the people at the top of the “other party” are out of touch with the vast majority of ordinary Americans.

Republicans complain about the “Nanny State”.  Well, the latest Republican efforts to involve themselves in an intimate end of life decision based on statements from a woman’s husband and two other people on what she would have wanted found credible by a court by clear and convincing evidence, and on the ability of rape victims to mitigate the harm they have suffered, is far worse.  It is little more than thralldom to the state, and that is un-American.

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