by Steven Ertelt
November 29, 2004
Austin, TX (LifeNews.com) — After several cases of pharmacists facing complaints or being fired from jobs for refusing to dispense drugs they believed cause abortions, a Texas state legislator is putting forward legislation that would offer the medical professionals additional protection.
State Rep. Frank Corte, Jr., a San Antonio Republican, has sponsored a bill that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing some birth control drugs and the morning after pill, which can cause abortions.
Corte told the Dallas Star-Telegram newspaper that some pharmacists are facing repercussions if they refuse to dispense abortion-causing drugs because of their moral or religious views.
"Our intent is to affect the prescriptions that terminate pregnancies, that’s what most of the pharmacists are concerned about," he said. "We have pharmacists who have received ultimatums from their employers."
Corte said his bill is not intended to deny women legal prescriptions.
However, Sarah Wheat of the Texas Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League told the Dallas newspaper that her group would oppose the conscience clause.
"This bill would cause women to have to roll the dice every time they went to have a prescription filled," Wheat said.
But pro-life organizations back the bill because they say pharmacists should be allowed to opt out of filling prescriptions for drugs that violate their moral beliefs.
"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 LifeNews.com. "Forcing a pharmacist to participate in abortion through prescribing a pill that could cause a chemical abortion is outrageous."
In July, Steve Mosher, owner of the Medicine Shoppe in Fabens, Texas refused to fill a prescription for the birth control drug
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.
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."
Other states have considered or are considering conscience clauses for pharmacists.
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.