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Friday, November 9, 2007

What He Said

posted by on November 9 at 17:00 PM

Will at HorsesAss on Washington state’s douchebag pharmacists

This isn’t about the personal religious beliefs of a pharmacist. This is about enforcing a religious code that governs the behavior of individuals. Women who want to avoid pregnancy use Plan B to avoid having to make the choice of abortion later. But that’s not good enough, apparently.

I have heard stories from women who go to the drug store to get Plan B. They tell me that the pharmacist has told them that they’re a “whore,” or that they need to find Jesus. This isn’t about a pharmacist’s personal beliefs governing their own actions. It’s about their personal beliefs governing yours.

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When will Christians stop sticking their dirty hypocritical noses into the business of good, decent, honest, hard-working Americans?

Posted by ls | November 9, 2007 5:06 PM

Someone needs to keep a catalog of these douchebag pharmacists for informational purposes, and perhaps branch-specific boycotting. We could have women go from drugstore to drugstore to see the reactions, or just follow up on specific complaints, and publish which specific stores have right-wingers working the pharmacy.

Posted by tsm | November 9, 2007 5:31 PM

Pharmacists have to take the Hippocratic oath just as medical doctors do, and I think this scenario is in conflict with "doing no harm". Imagine if a Christian Scientists were a pharmacist, and refused to dispense any prescriptions at all? Absurd, right? Yet somehow, it's very similar.

Furthermore, while employers may be vulnerable to lawsuits if they fire employees who claim they can shun their job duties based on religious beliefs (and why I believe it needs to be legislated), the verbal insults would be immediate grounds for dismissal in any work environment I've experienced, and can't fathom why they aren't in this case.

Posted by Dougsf | November 9, 2007 6:07 PM

The pharmacists should be struck off the register. Period. The women in question should sue. They'd probably win, especially if the makers of "Plan B" came in on their side. Be warned. This kind of dingaling religious extremism, if allowed to grow unchecked, becomes exceptionally nasty, quite quickly. Luckily, in the US, it is already illegal. So stop fucking snivelling and do something about it.

BTW. I am an Aussie.

Posted by Alex | November 9, 2007 6:47 PM

I know a pharmacist whose religion teaches her that taking Viagra is a mortal sin because if God wanted that person to have a boner he would give them a boner.

Obviously a pharmacist has the right to refuse Viagra prescriptions.

What would it take, two months or so of no Viagra before the entire GOP caucus is begging for the rule to be re-instated?

Pass it on to a pharmacist you know. 'Cause obviously not all pharmacists are right wing douchebags.

Posted by stilwell | November 9, 2007 7:53 PM

So let me get this straight. Your belief in a fictitious sky grandpa allows you to refuse to sell me a perfectly legal drug that I am free to choose to buy?

Fuck. That.

Posted by SDA in SEA | November 9, 2007 9:50 PM

I think plan b should be otc. Then pharmacists won't have to rub elbows with whores.

Posted by Mattro2.0 | November 9, 2007 9:54 PM

Plan B is not an abortifacient. It works like any birth control pill does. If the pharmacist's conscience allows him to dispense birth control pills, it should therefore allow him to dispense Plan B. Dispensing birth control pills has been part of the pharmacy business for the past 45 years, so only the oldest pharmacists started practice before birth control became part of their duties, therefore only the oldest pharmacists have a conscience leg to stand on.

Now there is an obvious difference between conception prevention and destruction of conception products, which we call abortion. In fact, doctors taking the Hippocratic Oath promise not to induce abortion. So a pharmacist might object to dispensing abortifacients on grounds of conscience, just as a doctor might refuse to administer a lethal injection to a condemned murderer. But that's a hypothetical situation that doesn't exist.

Posted by Plan B is birth control, not abortion | November 10, 2007 12:09 AM

So what happens when the government finally makes it illegal to have an abortion, and there obviously will be some chick so who is cracked out and pregnant and wants to get an abortion, but can't because it's illegal, so she's going to have a child that is completely cracked out just like she is, and that child doesn't have a choice in life, but to be cracked out, and dependent on it, because that's how it was born. There are people who realize that they are not meant to reproduce, and they take every precaution, but sometimes condoms and spermicide, fail, what do you do then?

Posted by shalane | November 10, 2007 12:17 AM

It's not the pharmacists choice, whether or not you are allowed to take Plan B. It's yours. It has not become illegal, or anything else, if you feel that you need it, then take it! That's your decision to make, not their's.

Posted by shalane | November 10, 2007 12:19 AM

I'm a regular here, and a pharmacist. My take: We're trained to be medication experts, not moral authorities. Therefore, if dispensing Plan B or any other drug is necessary, we *must* do so or we're abdicating our responsibility. Anyone refusing should lose his license.

The only circumstance where this should happen is if the pharmacy chooses not to stock a particular drug, for whatever reason.

If the patient's doctor feels that the patient should have the drug, we don't have the right to refuse it unless a known dangerous interaction exists or a generic alternative is available, and both of those circumstances necessitate a call to the doctor's office, as unpleasant as that might be.

It's our JOB.

Posted by Anonymous Pharmacist | November 10, 2007 5:51 AM

A few clarifications--

@7--Plan B IS over-the-counter in the US right now. You don't need a script to go get it; you just need to be over 18. You do, however, have to go to the pharmacist's counter to get it, so they can advise you on how to take it.

@8--Plan B doesn't exactly work as "any birth control pill does." That's simply misleading. While Plan B is NOT an abortifacient and has no power to end an established pregnancy, it works in the body differently than HBC.

HBC works by continually sending the woman's body a hormonal signal that she has just finished ovulating, and therefore no longer needs to ovulate and produce a viable egg. With HBC, pregnancy is prevented because there's no egg to fertilize.

Plan B, on the other hand, attempts to stop the implantation of an already fertilized egg by thickening cervical mucus and otherwise making the woman's body inhospitable to the zygote. In other words, a women takes Plan B after unprotected sex because she is afraid there is an egg in her body that has recently been fertilized by sperm, and is now trying to travel to her womb and implant there to start a pregnancy. Plan B will stop that egg from ever implanting. Because the medical definition of pregnancy is the implantation of a fertilized egg, Plan B is not classified as an abortifacient. However, for people (nutsos) who believe even a simple zygote is a full human being worthy of protection, Plan B is problematic in a way that HBC isn't, because with HBC there would never have been an egg to begin with.

Plan B does contain the same hormones as birth control pills, however, just in a much higher dose.

Posted by lymerae | November 10, 2007 8:56 AM

I take birth control pills. But, I don't take Yasmine (birth control pill that works like Plan B to avoid implantation) or Plan B because they do not prevent fertilization. I can make these decisons about my body and about my values. I see a difference, and I respect the rights of those who do not see a difference.

Also, as a note, even though Plan B is over the counter, women have to sign a form before it is dispensed. Kinda like Sudaphed.

Posted by Not nutso | November 10, 2007 9:09 AM

I've been harassed by pharmacists when buying birth control pills--jokes about whores and being told to "have fun." I moved around to different drug stores and complianed but it happens so often that I've come to hate my monthly visit to the drug store.

Posted by Papayas | November 10, 2007 9:13 AM

@7 - from what I understand, Plan B is available OTC in WA if you're over 18. Unfortunately, if you're a teenager and pregnant, you're apparently SOL.

Posted by tsm | November 10, 2007 9:31 AM

@15--re: teenager and SOL--not necessarily. Anyone over 18 can buy it for them--a friend, the boyfriend, a trusted adult, a sibling, etc.

@14--what kind of pharmacies have you been going to? I've gotten my BC at various CVS pharmacies, and I've never gotten any comment besides, "Do you have any questions about this medication?" None.

Posted by lymerae | November 10, 2007 10:33 AM

Bill Maher, of course, addressed this issue long ago:

"...more and more American pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control because of their personal moral objections. Hey, you know what would really teach us a lesson? If you took off your pretend doctor jacket and got another job... You don't answer to a law above the laws of men. You work for Sav-On. The doctors are the ones who make medical decisions because they went to medical school, whereas you were transferred from the counter where people drop off film."

Posted by Big Sven | November 10, 2007 11:44 AM

I wonder how many pharmacists refuse to dispense Viagra without seing a marriage license, or call those customers nasty names. Isn't sex before marriage still a sin?

Do they refuse to fill fertility drugs? During some fertility treatments, a large number of fertilized eggs are essentially flushed down the drain. How is that worse than one being flushed out of the body?

I would be okay with pharmacists being able to refuse to fill a script on religous/moral grounds ONLY if there was another pharmacist on duty who would fill it. Otherwise, it is part of your job. Just do your fucking job, or get a new one that is less objectionable, (like working at a church, or religous school).

Imagine one of those self-richeous religous freaks working at a crisis hotline, telling rape victime that they must've asked for it, or that since the offender was their spouse, that it wasn't rape, and go back to your wifely duties.

Or a police officer responding to a domestic, saying that it is the man's right to beat his wife and kids to death if he wants to, because his god says they are his property.

Wasn't there something in the constitution about allowing freedoms as long as they don't interfere with the freedoms of others?

Posted by Racheal | November 10, 2007 6:32 PM

I remember there was some kind of advertising campaign urging women to get some Plan B *now*, so they'll have it on hand in case they need it. That seems to be a sensible thing to do; if you find that the pharmacist you're trying to buy it from won't give it to you, you'll have time to find another one (not to mention tell all your friends and family to avoid the first one).

Posted by HiKitty | November 11, 2007 10:38 PM

If pharmacists are permitted to refuse to sell drugs based on religious principles, then Aryan Nation pharmacists should be able to refuse to dispense drugs to racial minorities.

Posted by kk | November 12, 2007 8:48 AM

Given that the Pope has instructed the faithful to stop dispensing "immoral drugs" (and those would include any medication that could or would induce miscarriage), are you saying that Christians should not be pharmacists? Please tell me how this is any different from anesthesiologists refusal to participate in executions - which has virtually halted the killing of death row inmates. If a pharmacist takes the same kind of oath as a doctor "first, do no harm", and his conscious tells him/her that abortion is harm (according to his faith or personal beliefs) then how can a pharmacist be compelled by the state to act contrary to his religious beliefs.

I read this column because it is a good source of news and information - but I am ALWAYS taken aback by the anti-Christian hatred and rhetoric that is spewed out here. Christians are not the worst people on earth, or in this country. "Christians sticking their noses is" are also responsible for a LOT of good that happens in this country and in this world. Christians, compelled by their faith to love their neighbors, are at the core of charitable works, volunteers, organiations created to help the poor and disenfranchised. It is convenient for you to blame Christians for everything as though just being Christian is an evil unto itself. But while not everyone calling themselves Christians really are true Christians, being Christian does not mean we are all perfect - any more than the rest of the populations. We sin, we make mistakes, just like everyone else. But in the free exercising of our faith we quite often are at odds with the secular population. That does not automatically make us wrong. Nor does it automatically make you right. And when your first instinct is hatred towards us - what does that say about you. This site is very quick to point out the failings/sins/crimes of all professed Christians, but are we the only ones committing sins/crimes? Why are we not outraged by every crimes? Or does it just feel better to point your finger at Christians?

Posted by Stella | November 12, 2007 9:45 AM

@21: Does the pharmacist's judgement of 'harm' override that of a doctor issuing a prescription?

Posted by Greg | November 12, 2007 10:54 AM

@#21: Wow another christian getting bent out of shape about some of the anti-christianity sentiments expressed here. I am NOT a christian! I don't want to be a christian! And I don't want christians telling me what to do in my life. Period! Ever! And you're right. Christians aren't responsible for all the EVIL in the world but they sure don't help. If it helps at all I don't hate christianity just most religions in general.

Posted by dan | November 12, 2007 11:10 AM

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