Monday, February 07, 2005


Here’s the latest Official Act of Stupidity that is racing down the pike toward us poor Georgians...
Under a bill filed Thursday by freshman Sen. Jim Whitehead (R-Evans), pharmacists who oppose abortion on “moral or religious” grounds and who refuse to dispense emergency contraceptive drugs would be immune from lawsuits or disciplinary action by employers.

In other words, if you have a prescription for Plan B, an emergency contraceptive drug, and your pharmacist has personal issues about dispensing what he or she believes to be an abortifacient (and therefore Evil), under this legislation, your pharmacist can tell you to take a hike, and neither you nor the pharmacist’s employer can say “Boo.”

According to the article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from which the above was snipped, an Eckerd drugstore in Texas last year dared to fire a pharmacist who did exactly that. The pharmacist refused to sell Plan B to a rape victim and was dismissed. But if Jim Whitehead has his way, that won’t be happening in Georgia.

And now my two cents - that’s what you were waiting for, wasn’t it?

Bull. Shit.

I think a pharmacist who refuses to sell a legally-prescribed medication for any reason should be subject to strong and immediate disciplinary action by his or her employer, and, furthermore, should be subject to legal action in the civil courts should the customer suffer damage as a result of such refusal.

You have a problem doing your job? Get another job.

I would stop short of criminalizing the pharmacist’s conduct. Hey, if you don’t want to do what your employer pays you to do, that’s a matter between you and your employer. You’re not a slave. But you have a job to do, and if you don’t like certain aspects of it, you are free to seek employment in another field that will perhaps be less traumatic on your conscience.

It’s all about choices and decisions. If you have sex, you may become pregnant. If you use contraception, you reduce the chances of becoming pregnant. If you become pregnant, you either carry the baby to term, you terminate the pregnancy artificially, or the pregnancy self-terminates. Those are the choices, and circumstances dictate those over which you have a measure of control.

But I tell you what: if I were a rape or incest victim, I would at least want the option to terminate any resulting pregnancy. And if I could prevent such a pregnancy from happening, so much the better. But you, O High And Mighty Drugstore Person, you are going to make that decision for me? I don’t think so.

The religious right wing wants to prevent abortions, but then they take measures that inevitably result in more abortions. Have I mentioned abstinence-based sex education?

Of course, the issue that lurks just in back of this one is the whole “Effect of Abortion Politics on What Medications are Granted Legal Status.” That’s a whole ’nuther bag of wind, friends, but for the sake of argument, let’s not even get into the discussion on why or why not RU486 (which can reasonably be called a pharmaceutical abortifacient) or Plan B (an emergency contraceptive) should be available under a doctor’s prescription. Medicines need to be safe and effective for their intended uses, but the FDA is not above the grasp of politics in today’s increasingly religious right-influenced administration. Which is why RU486 has “pariah status” in this country.

But we’re talking about Plan B, which is - in theory - legally available. Unless Mr. Druggist has other ideas.

Oh, brother. Time for a new license plate slogan, Georgia. Instead of the old standby “The Peach State,” how about “Now Increasingly Moronic!”?

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