by Steven Ertelt
April 7, 2005
Phoenix, AZ (LifeNews.com) — A bill that would allow a conscience clause for pharmacists to opt out of being involved with abortion drugs received the final go-ahead from the state legislature Wednesday. The measure now heads to Governor Janet Napolitano, who will likely veto it.
The state Senate voted 17-11 in favor of the bill Wednesday and the state House approved it 35-24 in February.
The measure would provide protection for pharmacists who don’t want to dispense abortion drugs and worry about losing their jobs. It covers the sometimes-abortifacient morning after pill and would cover the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug as well.
Rep. Doug Quelland, the sponsor of H2541, says health care workers should be protected from being forced to be involved in abortions.
“Do you want a state where health care workers are forced to violate their personal conscience and ethics," Quelland asked.
But that argument isn’t likely going to sway Governor Napolitano, who won her gubernatorial race with the support of abortion advocates.
"I view these as ‘refusal to sell’ bills," she said, which goes to the question of the rights of a pharmacist who is licensed by the state to dispense a drug prescribed by a physician," she told the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper Wednesday.
"I view ‘refusal to sell’ bills with great skepticism," Napolitano added.
If she vetoes the legislation, the state legislature would likely not have enough votes to override the veto.
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."