Arizona House Approves Pharmacists Abortion Drug Conscience Clause

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 5, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Arizona House Approves Pharmacists Abortion Drug Conscience Clause

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 5, 2005

Phoenix, AZ ( — The Arizona House of representatives approved legislation that would put in place a conscience clause for pharmacists who don’t want to dispense abortion drug and worry about losing their jobs.

The legislation targets the sometimes-abortifacient morning after pill and would cover the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug as well.

The state House approved the measure on a 35-24 vote.

Rep. Doug Quelland, the sponsor of H2541, said doctors in the state are already afforded the right to refuse to be involved in abortions and that right should be extended to pharmacists.

“Do you want a state where health care workers are forced to violate their personal conscience and ethics," Quelland asked.

In fact Quelland’s legislation protects more than just pharmacists.

In 1973 the Arizona Legislature authorized hospitals, physicians and staff persons associated with health care institutions to refuse to participate in an abortion if they object to participating based on moral or religious grounds.

Arizona Right to Life, which supports the proposal, says the bill "expands on this concept by permitting all health care professionals and employees of health care professionals that object to providing health care associated with an abortion or ’emergency contraception’ based on moral or religious grounds to refuse to provide that care."

Kathy Boyle, executive director of the Arizona Pharmacy Alliance, said existing state regulations already allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions that violate their moral or religious beliefs.

She said if lawmakers want to put that into law, they should also require pharmacists to refer women to another pharmacy to fill the prescription.

However, Ron Johnson of the Arizona Catholic Conference said that would be the same as forcing the pharmacist to dispense the drugs.

Related web sites:
Arizona Right to Life –