California Leg. Approves Morning After Pill Bill, Goes to Schwarzenegger

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

California Leg. Approves Morning After Pill Bill, Goes to Schwarzenegger Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 9, 2005

Sacramento, CA ( — California is already one of a handful of states that have gone around the Food and Drug Administration to approve selling the morning after pill over the counter.

Now the state legislature has signed off on a measure that would force pharmacists to dispense the sometimes abortion-causing drug — even if it violates their religious or moral beliefs — if they haven’t told their employers about their objections.

The measure now heads to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has yet to take a position on the bill.

Abortion advocates pushed for the measure after conducting a statewide survey which showed some pharmacists have concerns about potentially being involved in an abortion by providing the drug to women wanting it.

In some cases the drug works to prevent conception, but other times it destroys the life of a newly-conceived unborn child.

The bill is SB 644 and is sponsored by Sen. Deborah Ortiz, a Sacramento Democrat. The Senate approved it by a 22-14 margin.

Under the measure, pharmacists are only allowed to opt out of filling prescriptions for the drug if they previously told their employer they would not do so. The measure would still force pharmacies to ensure that the prescription is filled, either by another pharmacist or by transferring the prescription to another pharmacy.

The California Family Alliance opposed the measure but the California Catholic Conference said the ability to pharmacists to opt out if they tell their employer protects the rights of pharmacists sufficiently.

Edward Dolejsi, executive director of the Catholic group, told the Modesto Bee newspaper, "SB 644 allows all to act according to their consciences and within the limits of the law."

To promote the bill, pro-abortion groups sent dozens of volunteers to pharmacies across the state. The abortion advocates visited 149 independent and chain pharmacies in 29 California counties and volunteers presented prescriptions for Plan B.

Pharmacists in four cases declined to fill the scripts.

The abortion advocates found that 59% of the pharmacies they contacted had the morning after pills in stock and 71% that did not stock the drugs made a referral to another pharmacy.

Related web sites:
California Catholic Conference –