by Steven Ertelt
December 13, 2005
Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — New Hampshire is one of seven states that are allowing sales of the morning after pill over the counter without a doctor’s visit. Pharmacists there must undergo a mandatory training course before being allowed to dispense the drugs, and fewer than 20% of the state’s pharmacists chose to attend the first two seminars.
Gov. John Lynch signed the Plan B drug measure six months ago and about 200 pharmacists showed up for training sessions held this past weekend.
However, there are 1200 pharmacists in the state, meaning just 1 in 6 wanted to be trained on how to dispense the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion.
Abortion advocates are convinced others will join them at future seminars.
Liza Dube, the political director of NARAL Pro-Choice New Hampshire, told the Associated Press the 200 are "almost like the guinea pigs."
"Others may hold off until they see the advantages, and then maybe they’ll participate," she claimed.
But a large percentage of pharmacists in the state may not take the training and, instead, prefer to opt out of having to dispense the drugs.
That’s because a poll conducted earlier this month by HCD Research of Flemington, New Jersey, which surveyed 859 pharmacists, found 69 percent of pharmacists believe they should have the ability to decline filling prescriptions for the morning after pill.
The firm conducted the poll after news of four Illinois pharmacists fired from Walgreens stores near St. Louis after they said they would not fill orders for the Plan B drug because of their views on it.
HCD Research found that just 29 percent of those pharmacists polled believed Walgreens was justified in putting the pharmacists on unpaid leave. They have since filed a complaint with the EEOC about the actions and may file a lawsuit if they doesn’t help them return to work.
Some New Hampshire pharmacists are worried about being held liable for problems associated with the Plan B drugs.
Pharmacist Deborah Kirsch doesn’t mind filling a prescription for the Plan B pills from a physician, but she won’t sell the drugs to women who come to her store, Modern Pharmacy in Concord.
"What if some poor girl got pregnant and had a malformed baby," Kirsch told the Concord monitor newspaper. "I don’t want to be in the middle of that."
"I don’t trust the law to protect me from liability," Kirsch said. "Why should we be able to do it for this one drug, but not for any other drugs?"
The New Hampshire law allows women over the age of 16 to buy the drugs without first consulting a doctor.
Other states that allow purchase of the morning after pill without a prescription include Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Washington.