Christian Doctors Group Concerned About AMA Stance on Pharmacists
by Steven Ertelt
June 27, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A national organization of tens of thousands of Christian doctors says it’s very concerned about a recent policy resolution approved by the American Medical Association opposing conscience clauses for pharmacists. The AMA last week indicated it opposed allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing drugs like abortion pills.
Christian Medical Association executive director, Dr. Gene Rudd, an OBGYN, said the key issue in the pharmacy debate is "the fundamental freedom to follow the dictates of one’s conscience and of the teachings of one’s religious faith."
The AMA resolution calls on pharmacists to fill all legally prescribed drugs, including the morning after pill, which sometimes causes abortions, and birth control pills, which violate the beliefs of some pharmacists.
"Regardless of whether we would personally take that position, it is important to defend the rights of those who do," Dr. Rudd said.
The decision also opens the door to making pharmacists dispense the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug if it is ever allowed to be sold over the counter.
Before the AMA vote, Dr. Mary Frank, a California physician told delegates that the debate was "an issue of access to care for patients."
"There is simply no reason to trample over the consciences of pharmacists to fill these prescriptions," Rudd countered. "Patient convenience is a good goal, but it cannot trump fundamental rights of conscience."
The pharmacist must make an "immediate referral to an appropriate alternative dispensing pharmacy without interference," the AMA resolution reads. Many pharmacists say that’s the same as forcing them to fill drug orders for pills that violate their beliefs.
Rudd described the AMA vote as part of a larger problem of abortion advocates not tolerating the views of anyone who opposes abortion.
"What we are seeing in this country is a wholesale movement to deny healthcare professionals the right to follow their own consciences, especially in matters regarding reproduction," he explained.
"Mandating abortion training for New York City residents in training, forcing pharmacists to fill prescriptions that violate their consciences, and requiring faith-based organizations to violate their religious teachings are not only morally objectionable, they violate our constitutional freedoms of speech and religion," Dr. Rudd concluded.