North Carolina Bill Would Protect Pro-Life Pharmacists on Drug Scripts

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

North Carolina Bill Would Protect Pro-Life Pharmacists on Drug Scripts

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 26, 2005

Charlotte, NC ( — Legislation in North Carolina would protect pro-life pharmacists who want to opt out of dispensing drugs that could cause abortions. The bill would allow pharmacists to join doctors and nurses in following their conscience on refusing to be involved in abortions.

Rep. Jeff Barnhart, a Republican in the lead sponsor of the legislation, which allows a pharmacist to decline to fill a prescription on moral, ethical or religious grounds.

Rep. Mitch Gillespie, another Republican who co-sponsored the bill, says it would help protect pharmacists from facing legal or employment concerns resulting from their actions.

John Rustin, director of government relations for the North Carolina Family Policy Council, says his group will support the measure while Paige Johnson, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina, says the abortion business will urge lawmakers to oppose it.

"I have to say this is really pure discrimination against women," Johnson said.

Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life, applauded introduction of the bill and says it will help women make better decisions in pregnancy situations. She disagreed with Johnson’s view of the bill.

"If she can go down the road [to get the prescription], there is no infringement on the woman," Brauer said.

Pro-life pharmacists across the nation are finding themselves under tremendous pressure to prescribe drugs such as the morning after pill.

A pharmacist in Wisconsin was recently disciplined for refusing to fill a script and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich issued an order requiring all state pharmacists to fill all prescriptions. That order has been taken to court.

Meanwhile, pharmacists in Texas have been fired for their refusal to dispense such drugs.