by Steven Ertelt
June 7, 2007
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Abortion advocates in Congress have introduced new legislation that would force pharmacists across the country to dispense birth control and the morning after pill, which can cause an abortion in some instances. Under the bill, pharmacists who decline to dispense such drugs could be required to pay as much as $500,000 in fines.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, both pro-abortion Democrats, are the key sponsors of the House and Senate versions of the bill, called the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act.
Pharmacists have "an obligation to serve women, provide them with access to medication," Maloney said at a news conference in Washington. It is about health care. It’s about the basic right to birth control."
Under the bill, pharmacies would be required to make sure there are no delays in getting birth control drugs or the morning after pill to customers "without delay." If the pills are out of stock, pharmacies would be forced to order them or refer customers to drug stores that have them on hand.
Pro-life groups say the legislation deliberately attacks pharmacists who exercise professional moral judgment and tramples on any professional or ethical concerns.
"Pharmacists are professionals, not vending machines," Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America told LifeNews.com.
"The FDA has been known to make mistakes in approving drugs, and doctors have made mistakes in prescribing. Pharmacists provide a line of defense to ensure that patients’ lives and health are protected and can make patients aware of ethical concerns," she added.
"Yet this bill would punish pharmacists up to $500,000 for acting on their ethical duty," Wright said, pointing to the $5,000 fine per day of violation.
Pharmacies and pharmacists could also face litigation and damages in civil court under lawsuits authorized by the bill.
But abortion advocates applauded the introduction of the bill and the pro-abortion National Organization of Women told LifeNews.com that "there is an all-out attack on birth control in this country."
"Religious and political extremists are trying to make it impossible for women to fill their birth control prescriptions or get the morning-after pill," the group complained in a statement.
The measure requires pharmacists to not "intimidate, threaten, or harass customers in the delivery of services relating to a request for contraception" or "interfere with or obstruct the delivery of services relating to a request for contraception."