Montana Pharmacy Refuses to Stock Birth Control, Firestorm Ensues

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 5, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Montana Pharmacy Refuses to Stock Birth Control, Firestorm Ensues Email this article
Printer friendly page

by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 5
, 2007

Great Falls, MT ( — The new owners of a pharmacy in Montana have decided to not sell birth control drugs in their store. The decision has angered abortion advocates and brings up questions about whether pharmacies and pharmacists should have the ability to opt out of dispensing drugs that may cause abortions or assisted suicides.

Snyder Pharmacy has been a staple of Great Falls for over four decades but when the Anderson and Depner families purchased the store from its longtime owner, the pro-life Catholic families made a policy change.

They decided not to stock or sell birth control drugs because they believe the pills cause abortions.

Stuart Anderson, a pharmacist who co-owns the drug store, wrote about the policy in a letter to customers.

"Snyder Drug has decided to no longer carry oral contraceptives," the letter said. "We will be happy to transfer your oral contraceptive prescription to another pharmacy of your choice in a timely manner."

The letter indicated that by the end of May Snyder would no longer stock any birth control drugs.

A woman who received the letter complained to Planned Parenthood of Montana and it is launching a petition campaign against the drug store.

"Snyder’s decision is out of line with Montana values and out of line with mainstream America," Stacey Anderson, PPM’s director of public affairs, claimed in an email to

Anderson alleged that the families are lying about the abortifacient nature of the drug and said, "It is dangerous for women and a disservice to our community to spread false information about FDA-approved birth control that is used for both medical reasons and family planning purposes."

The families told the Billings Gazette they are surprised by some of the negative responses they’ve received. Other people have applauded the decision.

"We’re flabbergasted at the attention we’ve gotten, including some comments by people who aren’t our customers that are downright malicious," Kurt Depner said. "We’re just a small business making the types of decisions that business owners make every day."

According to the newspaper, the Rev. Jay Peterson, administrator of the Catholic Church’s Great Falls-Billings Diocese, applauded the couples "for acting on their moral convictions and standing up for their Catholic beliefs in the sanctity of human life."

ACTION: Send your comments to Snyder Drug, 2515 6th Ave N, Great Falls, MT 59401, (406) 452-646.