Appeals court says pharmacists can’t refuse to dispense Plan B

Damn straight! On Wednesday, an appeals court ruled that despite two Washington pharmacists’ lawsuit saying that their religious beliefs should allow them to refuse to stock and provide emergency contraception to their customers, personal convictions doesn’t trump a patient’s right to timely medication.
This decision is huge as it could affect policy across the Western U.S. regarding the “right to conscience” nonsense that has been gaining momentum over the past few years, particularly with the help of Bush implementing the anti-choice HHS regulations before he left office (which we’re still waiting for Obama to rescind like he intended). But this ruling creates a precedent for future cases around the issue.
While the pharmacists won a temporary injunction by the U.S. District Court in Seattle under their claim that they should be protected under the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals wasn’t having it. They lifted the injunction, saying that a person’s religious beliefs “does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability”:

“Any refusal to dispense — regardless of whether it is motivated by religion, morals, conscience, ethics, discriminatory prejudices, or personal distaste for a patient — violates the rules.”

Booya.

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123 Comments

  1. MzBitca
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m not arguing for further restriction. I argue for less. At this point Plan B is available over the counter without a perscription. These pharmacists are using their moral values to restrict someone’s access. If you are against regulation shouldn’t you be against this?

  2. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    Regulation and what people choose to do with their own property are completely different things.
    I’m all for Plan B being available. Nonetheless, I can’t in good conscious support the use of state force to support that, as doing so would go against my opposition to aggressive violence. Regardless of what I think about what they’re doing, I must concede that it is their pharmacy and therefore entirely their right to decide what is stocked and sold there. Otherwise, they don’t even really own their pharmacies, or indeed even themselves.

  3. kissmypineapple
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Um, I’m sorry, but did you just write that you’re against licensing? Did you mean that, or were you just responding to the general nature of job description in my post? Licensing is extremely important in the jobs that require it. Would you go to an unlicensed doctor? Would you seek the legal advice of an unlicensed lawyer? How about seek counsel from an unlicensed therapist? That is absolutely a ludicrous assertion, and I can’t imagine anyone actually being against the licensing of those in professional (especially medical!) positions.

  4. cattrack2
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    “Its not a teacher’s right to carry guns?”
    Well see there’s the rub, if everyone gets to define everyone else’s job description then guess what, the radical right can define carrying a gun as part of a teacher’s job description.
    I agree with you insofar as in emergency situations–police, firefighters, ER doctors–people must perform their job, but–even having relied on Plan B myself–I don’t think its a life & death matter.

  5. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Why not? It’s not as though such things actually improve quality of care. The main effect is increases in price, since the main backers of such things are often members of the profession in question seeking to keep out competitors.
    There is nothing the government can do in regards to certification that can’t be done better, privately. A medical version of the Underwriters Laboratory would probably arise for drugs and treatments if the FDA were abolished.
    Even the question you pose itself calls into question the need for state licensing, because if what you imply in your question is true, that no rational human would willingly accept certain kinds of service that did not come from someone backed by a trusted source, then anyone who tried to work without such backing would not be able to make a living, and the problem is self-correcting. Otherwise, certification is not always worth what you assume it is, and at least some people would be better off without it.

  6. alixana
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Regulation and what people can do with their property are often completely entwined.
    It would be illegal to run a pharmacy that isn’t regulated. There are zoning regulations that govern what people can do with property in specific areas. There are safety and health codes for how that property is maintained. There are environmental codes about what you can do on your property and how you must store and dispose of hazardous materials, which most certainly could cover items in a pharmacy.
    There is so little that anyone does that isn’t subject to some sort of regulation! Contrary to some views in this thread, we are not free to to whatever we like just because we’ve spent money or live in America!

  7. cattrack2
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

    “Pharmacists are a vehicle…”
    Really? I thought they were people. That’s the problem with this line of thinking it reduces other people down to mere vehicles…as if private citizens are just government bureaucrats who have to support whatever it is you want.
    In the world you propose people have to support your beliefs. The problem with that is that sooner or later (and much sooner if you’re in Southern states) the very opposite occurs. Instead of YOUR beliefs being the ones that are supported its THEIR beliefs being the ones that are supported. That’s why its best to leave private citizens to decide for themselves. If you don’t like the pharmacist’s beliefs go find another.

  8. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I can’t argue with any of that, but would go on to say that the facts you describe constitute a problem rather than a desirable state of affairs.

  9. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh, so it just doesn’t matter if she gets pregnant against her will. Plan B is VERY important for women to have. It’s our bodies, of COURSE it matters what happens to them.

  10. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    “That’s the problem with this line of thinking it reduces other people down to mere vehicles…”
    Just like you’re reducing women down to mere vehicles whose main purpose is to reproduce? Of course pharmacists are people, but they’re people that chose to do their job. They shouldn’t be exempt from doing a job that they chose just because of their own morals. If their morals say “No!” to a pharmacists job, then they should not be a pharmacist. It’s common sense.

  11. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    If your worldview had any internal consistency, you’d know that the rights underlying a woman’s right to use Plan B are exactly the same as those which ought to protect pharmacists from state meddling in their stocking decisions.

  12. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    And I’d also like to add this. It’s not always easy to just “go find another pharmacist”. By telling pharmacists that they can pick and choose what part of their jobs they’d like to do, you’re giving them control over womens’ lives. You’re telling them that they could be (and should be) the deciding factor as to whether or not the woman in question has to go through a pregnancy, or has to get an abortion. You’re really giving them the power to potentially fuck up a woman’s life. Don’t tell me that doesn’t matter. It’s just common sense to say that a pharmacist shouldn’t be able to tell me what to do with my own body just because s/he is either too much of a misogynist to give me the pill or too stupid to realize that the pill doesn’t cause abortions (or both).

  13. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    They don’t HAVE to give plan B, no one’s forcing them. Like I’ve said many times before, if they don’t want to do their jobs, then they can leave their jobs.

  14. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Not being allowed to do something which violates no one’s rights is as bad as being forced to do something which violates yours.

  15. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I can never say it enough- if they don’t want the job, they shouldn’t have become pharmacists. Making them do their jobs is not a violation of their rights. I decided not to become a professional violinist because I don’t want to perform. I’m thinking of becoming an abortion provider, and I’m not going to walk into the clinic on the first day of the job and say “okay, I’m here.. BUT I’m totally against abortions so I’m not gonna do them”.

  16. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey people, the labor market in America is not, in fact, nationalized, and so every individual employment contract (outside of Unions, I suppose) is unique, and not strictly defined by the whims of bureaucrats and busybodies.

  17. Alice
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    You can’t be a professional violinist and not perform because performing for payment is what defines a professional violinist and nobody would be able to pay you for something you refuse to do, or else you would be committing theft by renegading on your contract. You are still, however, free to learn how to play the violin and perform for free or perform for friends only, or if you do start playing for money, the fact that you have done so does not then obligate you to accept performance contracts to perform songs you don’t like or find offensive, or to continue performing at all.
    You could even start a performance company, advertise your professional violin playing services, and decline all offers except those for performances of classical remixes of 90′s anime theme songs if you really wanted to. It’s your violin and your time, right?

  18. Siby
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    “You can’t be a professional violinist and not perform because performing for payment is what defines a professional violinist”
    yeah.. Because that’s the job of a professional musician? Isn’t it? Oh, but this doesn’t apply to pharmacists because they’re special and they deserve the right to control our bodies. I gotcha.
    lol.

  19. jane
    Posted July 10, 2009 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

    With the collapse of the world economy which has recently come of deregulation and greed you’re still pushing the idea that the market will fix itself. LOL.

  20. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    The recent collapse is a self-fix. The problem was the artificial boom and associated malinvestments brought on by government intervention and Keynesian economics. Looks like the market is fixing itself to me. Now the main problem is the on-going government effort to prevent the bust and liquidation needed for economic recovery.

  21. kisekileia
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you for posting this. Personally, I think this ruling draws the line in exactly the right place. Forcing individual pharmacists, who may have adopted their religious convictions well after entering the profession, to dispense medications that they believe (albeit wrongly) to be instruments of murder is problematic. However, it is at least equally problematic to allow pharmacists’ religious beliefs to decrease women’s access to appropriate medical care.

  22. kissmypineapple
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    I think that having standard licensing procedures most certainly does improve the quality of care one receives, but I doubt very much that there is anything I could post to convince you otherwise. I’ll keep going to my board certified doctor, and you can go to whichever back alley one, outside the purview of the government that you prefer.

  23. Mama Mia
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Perhaps a more analogous example would be a vegetarian waitress. Say I am a vegetarian for moral reasons. If I get a job as a waitress, there is a chance I will be serving someone steak, which I find morally wrong. But the customer and the chef have agreed on this transaction, my job is merely to serve it. If I don’t want to serve meat, I should find an industry that doesn’t involve serving meat.
    The transaction with Plan B is between a woman and her doctor. The pharmacist is the go-between like the waitress. They have special expertise that ensures the transaction goes smoothly, but they do not prescribe or swallow any of the medication they serve up.
    Now, the fact that pharmacies are required to stock plan B does make things problematic, I suppose. I could look for a vegetarian restaurant but in Washington you can’t find a Plan B-free pharmacy. But try being a vegetarian waitress in Kansas. They wouldn’t get much sympathy either.

  24. Paul
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    When I think of pharmacists who refuse to dispense plan B I immediately think about soldiers/sailor/airmen/marines who refuse to serve in Iraq/Afghanistan. This website has an established history of supporting non-warriors who don’t want to deploy, and possibly kill. But it seems that the ethics that back up that belief are malleable to what the person wants or believes is right.
    I believe that it is ethically inconsistent to support contract violators and condemn pharmacists at the same time. I think many people have a gut feeling of what is right or wrong and either don’t examine the ethics that underline their belief, or they back justify for each example. I don’t approve of tailoring ones morals per their gut. I think one should take a long hard look at their ethics, and create consistent maxims.
    My initial response to service members who elect not to serve out their contract is to dishonorably discharge them. They signed up for the military, they know what a bloody military does, they have no honor, nor do they feel the compulsion of duty.
    When it comes to pharmacists I really want to support them. If some one refused to contribute to the death of an innocent life my heart wants to support them. You have pharmacists who where pharmacist before Plan B even existed. On face it seems unfair to force somebody to something they never signed up to do,
    However, this is ethically inconsistent. I have to conclude that a pharmacist must needs resign if he refuses to distribute Plan B when his state compels him.
    It gets really interesting when one ethics conflict with their own conscience.

  25. oswid_
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Thank you. So, yes, it is the goverment that actually dictates shops what should they sell.

  26. baddesignhurts
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 3:39 am | Permalink

    this is an interesting point.
    i personally think it’s wrong to compel pharmacists to dispense medications for the same reason i feel it’s wrong to draft people into the military. just because one is capable of performing duties A, B, and C, i don’t believe they are obligated to perform duties D, E, and F.
    while my personal morals feel it’s wrong to deny a woman her medications, a pharmacist’s right to not perform duties she/he may believe are unconscionable is equally valid to my mind. (the “don’t want to dispense drugs? don’t be a pharmacist!” argument is very sensible and obvious to me, but i also respect the right of people to not be legally compelled to commit acts they believe are morally wrong.)
    and the question of whether or not licensure protects the right to object is also interesting. i’m training to become a licensed architect. however, once i have my license, i am in no way obligated to, say, design military installations or churches or anything. however, i am able to do so. it would seem to me that the pharmacists’ situation is akin to this. their license makes them legally able but not obligated to dispense specific medications.
    i still think the best way to deal with this is to let the market handle it. a pharmacy that doesn’t sell birth control pills is about the WORST idea i can think of, from a business standpoint. with mail-order and internet pharmacies, there’s no reason that women can’t get what they need without compelling others to violate their beliefs.

  27. alixana
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The recent collapse was a result of deregulation! I have family members in the financial industry who support deregulation of said industry but still thought that the subprime mortgage debacle was severely lacking in necessary regulation that could have prevented this whole damn thing!

  28. kissmypineapple
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    a pharmacy that doesn’t sell birth control pills is about the WORST idea i can think of, from a business standpoint. with mail-order and internet pharmacies, there’s no reason that women can’t get what they need
    And what about women who live in rural areas and/or don’t have internet access? Women who are transient and do not have mailing addresses? Women who are a hundred miles from the next nearest pharmacy? Women who are in abusive relationships, whose abusers may use pregnancy or threat of same as part of the abuse and also watch her internet usage and mail reception like a hawk? I see these situations constantly. I’m a victim advocate in Flagstaff, Arizona for the entirety of Coconino County, and we have a lot of women in these situations, who, if their pharmacist refused to fill their prescription, would have no other way of obtaining their medication.
    I don’t support soldiers who sign up to be a part of the military and then when we go to war decide to opt out. You know what you’re signing up for when you sign up. I do support soldiers who want non-combat positions, but then, those are sub-positions with separate job descriptions than just soldier.
    Besides, it has been pointed out that this doesn’t force anyone to fill anything they don’t want to, unless the sole proprietor of the pharmacy happens also to be the only pharmacist on staff. The pharmacists have to stock it, and someone in the pharmacy, not necessarily the objecting pharmacist, must fill the prescription.

  29. jwb
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    No, the pharmacy that initiated the lawsuit is in Olympia, but the pharmacists are not. Ralph’s Pharmacy has had trouble hiring a pharmacist who thinks Plan B is an abortifacient — guess that’s because most pharmacists believe in science. The lawsuit is being spearheaded by the Alliance Defense Fund out of Arizona. They must have looked under every rock in Washington state to find these two whacky pharmacists who joined in the lawsuit.

  30. jwb
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    The rule was designed specifically to require pharmacies to distribute Plan B, not pharmacists. If an individual pharmacist has objections to dispensing Plan B, he or she may step aside, as long as the pharmacy has ensured that someone else working at the pharmacy is willing to give a woman a birth control pill. The rule was written this way to make it harder to challenge legally… let’s hope it works!

  31. Entomology Girl
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    (Fellow Flagstaffian here.)
    Yes. Agreed with you totally. If you sign up for something, do it. If you change your mind, get out. You can’t just sit around and whinge about it and expect people to accommodate you for backing out.
    And there are TONS of people who don’t have access to multiple pharmacies! I guess they’re just SOL though? I mean, poor people don’t really need healthcare, right? Of course not.

  32. Entomology Girl
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Some scenarios to consider:
    I am a vegetarian. If I were to join a position at a deli, and then insist that serving meat was against my morals, I’m sure most people would not try to protect my right to work at that deli; they would tell me to get another job. Even if the economy sucks. I don’t have the right to be working at a deli, refusing to do my job, and still expect to get paid. I have every right not to serve meat, but I CANNOT insist on getting paid to not do my job. Also keep in mind that my refusal to serve meat does not have the potential to cause lasting physical harm to my customers.
    Another (hypothetical) scenario:
    I am a pharmacist. I believe that HIV and AIDS are punishments from God for immoral behavior. When a patient arrives with a doctor’s prescription for anti-retroviral drugs, I refuse to fill those prescriptions, because I do not want to interfere with God’s punishment. Should this be allowed?

  33. kisekileia
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The problem with this is that pharmacies perform a necessary public service. It’s going to cause a lot less of a problem to society if one architect refuses to do a project (since other architects are generally available) than if one pharmacy refuses to dispense Plan B (since there often isn’t another pharmacy easily accessible).

  34. oswid_
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Regarding your second example (with pharmacist):
    > Should this be allowed?
    The answer is the same as in the first example: it is up to employer.

  35. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    If you did that, you’d just be fired. However, the situation your advocating for is like if you nonetheless managed to keep your job somehow, so then the government comes in and forces your employer to fire you even though they don’t want to. Or, in the case of a self-owned deli, the government shuts you down for not adhering to the state conception of what constitutes a deli.

  36. SirGrant
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Ok first post at Feministing! Just for the record the first paragraph is a little bit about my background.
    I am a male pharmacy technician for CVS. I have in the past dispensed plan B and will continue to do so in the future unless we run out of stock temporarily (which happens on occasion around holidays). I have no problem morally dispensing plan B and think it is a good thing.
    However to be honest I don’t like that it is being legislated that a pharmacy HAS to dispense something. I think each pharmacy should have freedom to choose if they want to carry something or not. For example if you work for CVS and CVS chooses to carry it I think you should have to dispense it because the company decided that it will and you work for them and you agree to bend to their rules. This goes along with a poster above who said a vegetarian should have to serve meat if they sign onto work as a waiter at a restaurant. I agree if you decide to work for a pharmacy chain that agrees to dispense it you should have to.
    My problem comes when someone opens their own business. Say someone opens a privately owned independent pharmacy. If they have a problem with plan B I don’t like the state/federal gov coming in and telling them what they have to dispense. I think that if someone owns their own business they should get to decide what they sell. If they choose not to provide plan B I think that is a stupid decision (economically and ethically) but that is their decision to make as they own the business. I don’t think you should be able to legislate that they have to carry something. I mean going along with the restaurant analogy that would be like telling a vegetarian restaurant that they have to serve meat.
    Again, I am pro planB and will continue to sell it but I think if someone has their own business and don’t want to sell it I think it’s wrong to force them to do so. They should have the freedom to be able to run their business the way they want. You also have the freedom to take your business elsewhere and support a pharmacy that does sell plan B.
    Lastly to sum it all up I keep seeing the vegetarian example being brought up over and over again. I AM a vegetarian in real so I can comment on this. If I signed up to work for a deli I would serve meat. It is what is expected of my employer and they should have a right to fire me for not fulfilling my duties. However if I decide to open my own vegetarian restaurant I don’t think the state should be able to tell me that I have to serve meat because that is how the gov defines a resturaunt as a place that serves meat. I think they have a right to regulate things like food or drug safety but don’t have a right to tell someone what they HAVE to stock and dispense.
    ~Grant

  37. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    This isn’t just some random business, this is access to healthcare. The government has more power to regulate in these areas, so it’s not a valid comparison. To allow pharmacists to make personal judgment calls infringes on access to medical care, and the policy concerns trump personal religious beliefs.
    What if I have a mental illness and no one in my city feels like providing psychotropic medication? Or medication that is primarily prescribed to african-americans? Or poor people? Or blue-collar workers? or women? It’s just not a feasible policy to allow individuals decide what medication is available for the population, and it has dangerous potential ramifications.

  38. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    there is no “right” to be a pharmacist. There is a right to control your body. They are not at all equal.

  39. SirGrant
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    What you described happens all the time. Doctors have the right to refuse to take medicare/medicaid. It is up to them if they want to take it. If don’t accept it they are turning away a large portion of the elderly/impoverished/disabled.
    There are a lot of “what ifs” in this situation. My only point is that I have a lot more faith that the majority of healthcare providers are out there to help their patients. Maybe I’m being naive but I would like to hope that these cases are few and far between.
    The way you are talking you make it sound like access to healthcare is a universal right. I hope one day it is but right now it’s not. There are millions of uninsured americans who don’t have access to healthcare. I am still of the opinion that a privately owned pharmacy should have the right to carry whatever drugs they want. The gov shouldn’t have a right to tell them they need to stock certain medications. Secondly, you gave the example of no MD’s in your city prescribing psychotropic medication. I am also against the gov telling MD’s how to do their jobs and what they have to prescribe. If you have a problem with your pharmacy/MD take your money elsewhere.

  40. kissmypineapple
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    It’s not as simple as taking your money elsewhere. It’s not as though a person is going to a restaurant and got bad service, so they’ll go eat somewhere else. Many times (and yes, it is naive to believe that the refusal to fill these prescriptions is few and far between), there is nowhere else to go.
    Just because the government does not currently legislate healthcare as though it is a right, and instead treats it as a privilege, does not mean that it is not a right. There are rights that are intrinsic to the human condition, and just because the government doesn’t recognize them does not make it so. It’s interesting that you seem to think the government should not be able to tell a doctor to do something, but that the government should be able to tell everyone else what they can and can not do. Medical care is a right that absolutely everyone has, and some sanctimonious pharmacist, who chooses to go into a scientific profession but have religion rule how they work, does not have the right to block my ability to receive medical care.
    Does anyone know if pharmacist take an oath, like doctors?

  41. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    If i have a problem, take my money elsewhere? I’m sorry, the free market is NOT a good way to handle health care. Guess what? some people only HAVE access to one pharmacy. I absolutely do not want to leave my health care in the hands of some idiot pharmacist who thinks their personal beliefs are more valid than the decisions I make over my body.
    (and by the way, a ton of pharmacists don’t even fucking know what this drug does, a real comfort considering they believe they should essentially making medical decisions for me: “Thirty-seven percent of the surveyed pharmacists did not
    know that emergency contraceptive pills and oral contraceptive pills have a similar mechanism of action. Nineteen percent incorrectly responded that the mechanism
    of action is most similar to that of mifepristone, 6% incorrectly
    responded that it does not resemble that of spermicidal
    products, oral contraceptives or mifepristone, and 12%
    responded they were not sure (not shown). Forty-three percent
    incorrectly agreed with, and 31% were uncertain about,
    the statement that emergency contraceptive pills can cause
    birth defects if taken by a pregnant woman, while 21% incorrectly
    agreed that repeated use of emergency contraceptive
    pills can pose health risks, and 64% were uncertain.”
    And yes, doctors can reject some patients based on insurance, and this is a huge problem too!
    According to this study as to why their pharmacy did not supply EC, 37% reported
    moral or conscientious convictions. I’m sorry. that’s fucking ridiculous.
    this is scattered bc im in class- the study is here. http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/psrh/full/3701905.pdf

  42. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    The only human rights are those of ownership, of themselves and their property. A pharmacist not

  43. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    That’s weird, the last part of my comment got cut off. Anyway, it’s supposed to say “… a pharmacist not selling someone drug doesn’t violate anyone’s rights, while forcing them to sell it, or forcing them to close shop if they don’t, violates their right to be free from violent coercion.”

  44. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    uh what? that’s totally wrong. We have MANY fundamental rights. right to vote, to parent our children, to interstate travel, to freedom of religion, to free speech, to abortion, to marriage, family relations, private education, and CONTRACEPTIVES. This stupid “conscience clause” is impeding on my fundamental right to use contraceptives. There is no fucking right to be a pharmacist. And guess what? the government can place restrictions on the practice of religion if it broadly applied and only incidentally burdens the free exercise of religion. Seriously, go read the opinion because you are seriously mistaken about the fundamental laws of our country.

  45. allegra
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that study IS fucking ridiculous. Thanks for posting it. I back your sentiments 100%. I can’t really figure out where these pharmacists – at least, the ones who picked an answer instead of “I don’t know” – would even be getting their “information” in the first place, because apparently it’s NOT from any legitimate scientific source. Are these beliefs based on what they hear in church, or crap they picked up from Fox or other random media? You’ve really got to be fucking joking me that pharmacists are able to make professional medical decisions based on shit they may have heard on Fox.
    The Guttmacher Institute always has such good stuff. I should be reading more of it.

  46. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    I know what the law is; I’m talking about how things should be.
    Many of the rights you describe at nothing more than different consequences of the right for oneself and one’s property to be free from aggressive violence. Even without an explicit freedom of speech, one is still free to talk to anyone who will listen or use legitimately owned broadcast towers to put your message into the radio of anyone who will tune in. Abortion and contraception are not rights in themselves, but merely particular instances of the right to do whatever you wish with your own body. Marriage is merely a particular instance of the right to form voluntary contracts. The right to interstate travel is merely the fact that states have no legitimate authority to restrict movement across their arbitrary borders in the first place.

  47. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    right from “aggressive violence”? you have no idea what you’re talking about. whatever

  48. baddesignhurts
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    fellow arizonans, what a pleasure. i’m down in tempe.
    my reply in the scenarios listed above is that the rights of women are ***equal*** to those of pharmacists. so, in my view, the best course of action is to encourage pro-choice pharmacies to open, to frequent those businesses, to boycott those businesses where conscientious objection is tolerated, and to organize efforts to help women get what they need, by driving them to other pharmacies or helping them get internet access. but, in my view, women have the legal right to healthcare, not the legal right to CONVENIENT healthcare. i believe the market and non-profits have the opportunity here to make convenient healthcare available.
    here’s a hypothetical scenario: a woman goes to her OB-GYN wanting an abortion. would you legally compel the doctor to perform the surgery if the doctor has been trained in the procedure, but doesn’t believe abortion is moral? i would not. i do, however, believe the woman has a right to the abortion, and can go to another provider.
    i think that describing the real-world effects of decisions (such as poor women in rural areas, those without internet, etc.) is important because it uncovers places where pro-choice people need to organize and provide more options in the marketplace. however, i feel in this instance, i am trying to argue logic and others are rebutting with emotion. this type of debate will never be fruitful.

  49. Alice
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    There is the right to be free from state interference. The right to control one’s body is merely an example of that.

  50. evann
    Posted July 11, 2009 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    but there are levels and exceptions. and when public policy calls for it, your rights are limited, especially when it directly affects other peoples’ fundamental rights. there are no fundamental rights to perform a certain job. you need to go and read the landmark supreme court cases outlining these rights, because you are missing a huge amount of law and logic in your answers.

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