Catholic U.K. Pharmacist Refuses to Give Morning After Pill to Customer

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 26, 2004   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Catholic U.K. Pharmacist Refuses to Give Morning After Pill to Customer Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 26, 2004

London, England ( — A British pharmacist is under fire for refusing to dispense the "morning after pill" to a customer because of his Catholic beliefs. The young woman says she will sue the pharmacy if she becomes pregnant.

Kerrie Gooch, 24, is the mother of two and went to a Lloyds Pharmacy in Swindon, England to obtain the drug that some consider to work as an abortifacient.

However, the pharmacist on duty, whose name was not released, told Gooch that he would not dispense the drug because he is Catholic and believed it sometimes works to cause an early abortion of a new pregnancy.

There was no other pharmacist on hand to fill the prescription, though Gooch was able to obtain the drug at another pharmacy later that day.

Gooch plans to sue and told the Daily Mirror newspaper, "What gives him the right to play God?"

"Everyone is entitled to an opinion but I don’t want someone making a decision like this for me," Gooch added.

However, Andy Murdock, Lloyds’ pharmacy director, told the Daily Mirror newspaper that the pharmacist "objected on religious grounds, which he is fully within his rights to do."

"Another member of staff, and a supervisor, had lengthy discussions with Ms Gooch and partner. They were given advice as to alternative sources," Murdock said.

Several pharmacists in the United States have been the subject of controversy related to their refusal to dispense morning after pills or birth control drugs.

In July, Steve Mosher, owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Fabens, Texas refused to fill a prescription for the birth control drug

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."

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 should be extended to pharmacists — as has been done in Illinois and South Dakota.