AMA Doesn’t Want Pharmacists Refusing to Pill Plan B Scripts

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 21, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

AMA Doesn’t Want Pharmacists Refusing to Pill Plan B Scripts Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 21, 2005

Chicago, IL ( — The American Medical Association on Monday agreed that it does not want pharmacists to be able to opt out of filling prescriptions for drugs, especially those that can work to cause abortions. Their position puts another wrinkle in the debate about whether pharmacists should be forced to dispense certain drugs.

The national doctors group, which has long been controlled by abortion advocates, adopted a measure putting the organization on record in favor of legislation mandating that pharmacists fill prescriptions for all legal drugs, including those that cause abortions.

"This is an issue of access to care for patients," Dr. Mary Frank, a California physician told delegates before the vote.

Doctors also noted that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich enacted a temporary rule in his state forcing pharmacists to dispense all drugs there.

That order, which may violate Illinois law allowing medical professionals to opt out of morally offensive acts, is the subject of three lawsuits filed by pharmacists across the state.

The AMA says it supports a pharmacist’s right to refuse to prescribe some drugs, but indicates pharmacists must make sure a patient has access to them. The pharmacist must make an "immediate referral to an appropriate alternative dispensing pharmacy without interference," the resolution reads.

Many pharmacists say that’s the same as forcing them to fill drug orders for pills that violate their beliefs.

Meanwhile, other medical groups and pro-life organizations believe pharmacists should not be made to dispense drugs that violate their religious and moral views.

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.

"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 "Forcing a pharmacist to participate in abortion through prescribing a pill that could cause a chemical abortion is outrageous."

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