Another Pro-Life Pharmacist in Texas Under Fire for Refusing Script

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 29, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Another Pro-Life Pharmacist in Texas Under Fire for Refusing Script

by Paul Nowak Staff Writer
July 29, 2004

Washington, DC ( — Another Texas pharmacist is receiving criticism for refusing to fill a prescription for birth control pills, a decision he says is based on his beliefs opposing abortion.

Steve Mosher, owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Fabens, refused to fill a prescription for the birth control drug for Idalia Moreno two weeks ago. Moreno has said she will file a complaint against Mosher.

"I believe the birth control pill works by causing an abortion," Mosher told ABC-7 news reporters. "I am a Christian and I believe abortion is the taking of an innocent human life, and I can’t consciously and morally go along with that."

While he will not fill prescriptions for birth control pills for contraceptive purposes, Mosher said he will fill such prescriptions if the medication is to be used to treat hormonal problems.

While Mosher admits that his decision has cost him business, official discipline is not likely.

"There is nothing in the Pharmacy Act that would allow the board to discipline a pharmacist for refusing to fill a prescription on moral grounds," said Carol Fifher, Director of Enforcement for the Texas Board of Pharmacists.

As Mosher also owns his own business, he has the right to refuse service to anyone.

Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri are among the states that are attempting to pass legislation protecting the right of pharmacists and other medical professionals to refuse to provide treatments they object to on moral grounds.

Gene Rudd, associate director of the Christian Medical Association says forty-five states have passed conscience clause laws for physicians, and that protection could be extended to pharmacists — as has been done in Illinois and South Dakota.

In February, Denton, Texas pharmacist Gene Herr and two co-workers were fired by Eckerd Corporation, after they refused to fill a woman’s prescription for the "morning after pill" given to her by a doctor after she reported being raped. Herr said he believes the drug can kill an unborn child shortly after fertilization has taken place.

In March, a pro-life pharmacist at a CVS Pharmacy in North Richland Hills, Texas received criticism from abortion advocates and CVS for refusing to fill a birth control prescription.

Planned Parenthood president Gloria Feldt demanded that CVS take action against pharmacists who exercise their right to choose to refuse service based on moral convictions.

"On behalf of America’s women, I want your personal guarantee that this will never happen again," Feldt said. "We want to know the immediate steps you will take to guarantee that all CVS pharmacies ensure that every patient’s prescription is filled."

But pro-life groups say pharmacists should have a right to refuse.

"Health care providers, including pharmacists, should be never be forced to participate in procedures or practices to which they are morally opposed," Elizabeth Graham of Texas Right to Life told "Forcing a pharmacist to participate in abortion through prescribing a pill that could cause a chemical abortion is outrageous."