Missouri Bill Would Protect Pro-Life Pharmacists on Abortion Drugs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Missouri Bill Would Protect Pro-Life Pharmacists on Abortion Drugs

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 18, 2004

Jefferson City, MO (LifeNews.com) — The national debate about whether pharmacists should be forced to fill orders for drugs that violate their moral beliefs is growing more intense. With pro-life pharmacists in Texas and Wisconsin facing criticism for refusing to fill prescriptions for drugs they considered abortifacient, a Missouri state legislator says pharmacists in his state ought to be protected.

Sen. John Cauthorn, R-Mexico said his bill, SB 1119, is an effort to protect those pharmacists with enough "semblance of character to protect the right of the unborn."

Under the bill, pharmacists could not be fired for refusing to fill orders for drugs such as the morning-after bill or some forms of birth control that many pro-life pharmacists say cause early abortions.

"Pharmaceutical professionals shall not be required to perform, assist, recommend, refer for, or participate in any service involving a particular drug or device that they have a good faith belief is used for abortions," the bill says.

The legislation also ensures that colleges and universities cannot discriminate against students who refuse "to participate in any service or training" which involves drugs that may cause abortions.

"It’s not right for someone to have to choose between their convictions and the sanctity of human life," Kerry Messer of the Missouri Family Network told a state Senate committee that held a hearing on the bill.

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, Alison Gee of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region said her group opposes the bill because it targets women and birth control.

Susan Klein of the Missouri Right to Life countered that the bill covers drugs that may cause abortions, and does not focus on contraception that prevents pregnancy but doesn’t destroy human life.

The Missouri Pharmacy Association has not yet taken a stand on the bill. The group’s director, Ron Fitzwater, told the St. Louis newspaper that he supports the rights of pharmacists but not at the expense of leaving customers with no other options to obtain the prescriptions.

Three pro-life pharmacists in Texas were fired recently from an Eckerd drug store after they refused to fill an order for the morning-after pill. Meanwhile, a Wisconsin pharmacist is being accused by the state of unprofessional conduct for saying he would not fill an order for birth control pills that he believed would cause an abortion.

Related web sites:
Missouri State Senate – https://www.senate.state.mo.us
SB 1119 – https://www.senate.state.mo.us/04INFO/BILLS/SB1119.htm