Pharmacists should not refuse to fill contraceptive scripts.

Home Archived Opinion Pharmacists should not refuse to fill contraceptive scripts.

Brooke Martin

Published: January 25, 2006

control.ÿSeven years later, in 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled that unmarried couples could use birth control as well in Eisenstadt vs. Baird.

Organizations since then have dedicated themselves to helping women make informed decisions about their reproductive health through counseling and providing access to contraceptive methods, and they have reduced the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions through their efforts.

However, at the same time, others have been working to undo progress made since those landmark Supreme Court decisions and seek to push women’s rights back in time.

Certain companies, including Wal-Mart and Target, allow their pharmacists to refuse to fill doctor-written prescriptions for birth control pills and other prescription contraceptives.  The pharmacists are required, however, to refer patients to pharmacies that will fill the prescription.

The reason this issue so is significant is because it is more than a moral or women’s rights issue, and these organizations have simplistically turned it into one. Oral contraceptives are used for reasons other than just preventing pregnancy.ÿ The use of them varies in range from clearing up acne to treating endometriosis, a disease that causes women extreme pain that can prevent them from being able to participate in every day life.

These women depend upon their pharmacists to help them get better, and denying them their medications can prevent them from being able to lead normal, pain-free lives.

If a person has a religious problem with some aspect of their job, then they ought to get a new job.ÿA pharmacist’s job is to provide sick people with the medication to make them better.

When pharmacists are allowed to refuse to fill prescriptions because they feel they’re immoral, they don’t necessarily know why the woman is using contraceptives.

But aside from the fact that some people take oral contraceptives for medical reasons not related to the prevention of pregnancy, in 1965 and 1972, the highest court in the land granted women the right to use birth control.

Therefore, no one has the right to tell a woman that she cannot use birth control because that person feels it’s “immoral.”

Publicly subsidized family planning programs have annually prevented approximately 1,331,100 pregnancies,ÿmeaning that approximately 632,300 abortions have been prevented each year.

It’s the general rule that people opposed to birth control are also opposed to abortion.ÿ Well, through the use of birth control along with counseling, over half a million abortions are prevented each year, so while certain individuals may not personally want to use it, birth control and pregnancy prevention helps reduce the number of abortions.

Additionally, for every public dollar spent to provide family planning, three are saved that would have otherwise been used towards Medicaid costs for pregnancy-related care and care for newborns.

So, for the women out there who are depending upon their pharmacist to help them improve their health and the quality of their lives, they deserve courtesy and respect- no matter what the reason for their choices.

We fought hard for these rights. Perhaps we should stop spending our money on organizations that don’t respect that.

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