by Steven Ertelt
March 1, 2005
Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — A judge ruled Monday that a pro-life pharmacist in Wisconsin should be reprimanded for refusing to fill a customer’s prescription because he believed the drug causes abortions and violates his moral beliefs.
Administrative Law Judge Colleen Baird suggested that pharmacist Neil Noesen have his license restricted for two years for the July 2002 incident, in which he refused to fill the birth control prescription of a University of Wisconsin-Stout student.
Noesen also would not transfer Amanda Phiede’s prescription to another pharmacy.
Judge Baird said Wisconsin law prohibits pharmacists from actions that pose a "danger to the health, welfare or safety of a patient or public.”
He said Noesen put the student "at risk for an unwanted pregnancy" by his actions and required him to take ethics classes to continue employment as a pharmacist. Noesen would also have to inform future employers of the drugs he would not dispense and be required to pay for the legal proceedings.
The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board will issue a final decision in the case in April and is under no obligation to follow Judge Baird’s recommendation.
Noesen’s attorney, Krystal Williams-Oby, opposed the ruling and said it was an imposition on Noesen and other pharmacists who have moral objections to dispensing drugs that can cause abortions.
"It is very unfortunate that a decision would be issued holding a pharmacist to a standard that has never been articulated by the Pharmacy Board. My client, who has strong conscientious objections to dispensing certain medications, did not violate any regulation or statute," Williams-Oby told the Madison Capital Times.
Williams-Oby said Noesen will likely appeal the Wisconsin board’s decision if it agrees to punish Noesen or make him pay all legal costs in the case.
Chris Taylor, a spokesman for Planed Parenthood, said the abortion business was happy with the recommendation.
Wisconsin Right to Life disagreed saying the decision "proves what happens when an individual’s moral beliefs and livelihood are on a collision course."
Pharmacists for Life International, a pro-life trade group, also supported Noesen in the matter.
"There has been no proof of harm, or possible harm coming to the patient from being deprived of her medication until the next day," Karen Brauer, president of the group, said in a legal brief on his behalf.
"Birth control pills used for that stated purpose are not a medical necessity, since there are other options for preventing birth," the brief states.
Brauer pointed out that the state of Wisconsin does not have a law mandating that pharmacists transfer a prescription to another pharmacy if the pharmacist cannot fill it.
"Therefore, Neil Noesen has broken no pharmacy regulation," Brauer said.