Washington Pharmacy Under Fire for Not Stocking Morning After Pills

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 27, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Washington Pharmacy Under Fire for Not Stocking Morning After Pills Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 27, 2006

Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — A pharmacy in Washington state is doing what thousands of other pharmacies across the nation have done and is coming under fire from abortion advocates as a result. The owners of Ralph’s Thriftway, a pharmacy located on the East side of Olympia have decided they will not stock the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion.

"I don’t want to get into a detailed debate," Kevin Stormans, one of the co-owners of the pharmacy told The Olympian newspaper. "I just think people have to choose when they believe life begins. There are questions about this drug on that issue."

Stormans, who also owns coffee and sandwich stores, said he also does not stock the Plan B drugs because there is little demand for them.

The decision has outraged abortion advocates, who met on Monday and are planning a boycott of Ralph’s and Bayview Thriftway, another pharmacy Stormans owns. More than a dozen pro-abortion activists plan to boycott the store for a month starting next month.

"I can’t shop there anymore," Olympia resident Janet Blanding told other activists, according to the Olympian. "I hope we can take some action so they change the policy and I can start shopping there again."

"This is a very liberal community," Blanding added in an interview with the newspaper. "I think enough people care enough about women’s rights to boycott a store that is doing something like this."

Blanding also plans to file a complaint with the Washington State Board of Pharmacy.

Earlier this month, the pharmacy board approved a limited pharmacist’s conscience clause. The board said pharmacists should be allow to opt out of dispensing drugs that violate their moral or religious beliefs as long as they refer the customer to another pharmacist or pharmacy.

Pharmacists can opt out of filling the prescription but cannot “obstruct a patient in obtaining a lawfully prescribed drug or device" and must assist the customer in finding a timely alternative.

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire, a pro-abortion Democrat who has adamantly opposed any kind of legal protections for the rights of pharmacists, threatened members of the board after the decision.

Saying the board "made a mistake," the governor warned that the state legislature could overrule the Pharmacy Board’s guidelines or even replace members of the board who supported the conscience clause.

The guidelines have only been conditionally approved the governor’s threats could change some minds between now and when the pharmacy board votes on a final approval.

The draft rule goes before the full board on August 31 for a vote.

Stormans told The Olympian the boycott won’t change his mind on not stocking the drugs.
"Obviously it’s not something we would like to have happen. But it’s not going to change our position. We’ve made our decision, and it’s what we have determined. We’re not going to change our position based on what happens. It’s not a negotiable issue," he said.

"They certainly may have an effect on our business. If that happens, that’s OK. People can make their choice. We’ve made our choice."