by Steven Ertelt
April 20, 2006
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates told state officials Wednesday that Washington pharmacists should be forced to fill all prescriptions for legal drugs, even if those drugs can cause an abortion. They said pharmacists should not have a conscience clause allowing those with religious or moral objections to opt out of dispensing such drugs.
The comments come at a time when the state Board of Pharmacy is considering putting a conscience clause in place.
The state currently does not have a rule in place regarding mandatory filling of all prescriptions and, as a result, did not look into complaints from an abortion business that pharmacists refused to fill prescriptions on three occasions.
Karen Cooper, the head of NARAL’s Washington affiliate, told the boar din a hearing that women would be "adversely impacted by allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill valid prescriptions," according to a report in The Olympian.
However, two pharmacists said a conscience clause is needed.
Daphne McBreen of Seattle said it’s not difficult for a customer to get another pharmacist to fill a prescription.
Jeffery Williams, a pharmacist with Saint Francis Hospital in Federal Way, agreed and told the board, "Suppression of conscience is coercion and discrimination," according to the newspaper.
A board held a hearing in Renton last month and plans another one in Yakima, Steven Saxe, executive director for the board, told the newspaper.
The Washington state Pharmacy Association has no position and thinks both customers and pharmacists should be accommodated.
Rod Shafer, executive director of the Washington State Pharmacy Association, told the Associated Press he thinks the proposal is a good idea to respect the rights of pharmacists and patients alike.
"We are not dispensing machines," Shafer said. "We are professionals who have as many rights as anybody else."
Gov. Chris Gregoire, a pro-abortion Democrat, has sent the pharmacy board a letter opposing the proposal to protect the rights of pharmacists.
The language of the proposal states pharmacists may "act in accord with his or her moral, ethical, or religious principles, which may include conscientious objection to performing certain pharmacy care services."