by Steven Ertelt
September 10, 2007
Olympia, WA (LifeNews.com) — The state pharmacy board has completed its review of complaints nine women filed after a local pharmacy denied their request to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill. Though it closed the investigation, the debate about Ralph’s Thriftway pharmacy and three others that refused to fill orders is far from over.
The women, all hailing from Olympia, filed the complaint with the Washington State Board of Pharmacy in August.
The nine women say they had a total of 17 rejections by pharmacies in Olympia and Lacey, Washington when they tried to purchase the morning after pill.
The complaints covered old rules and the pharmacy board found that Ralph’s Thriftway and the other stores involved followed a general practice of sending women to other pharmacies when they wouldn’t honor a prescription for the controversial drug.
Now, pro-abortion activists have filed 10 more complaints following new rules that went into effect in July requiring pharmacists to dispense all drugs, including those that violate their conscience.
As a result, Kevin Stormans, who owns pharmacies in question, told the Tacoma News Tribune newspaper, “It’s really not a win."
He also accused abortion advocates and the state health department of getting rid of these complaints and bringing news ones under the new rules “that still have no merit."
"It’s still just political and legal posturing by the Department of Health," he said.
Stormans filed a lawsuit in July seeking to overturn the new rules, forcing them to dispense the morning after pill. The medical professionals say the law forces them into "choosing between their livelihoods and their deeply held religious and moral beliefs." https://www.lifenews.com/state2378.html
The pharmacy board approved new rules that require pharmacists to fill all legal prescriptions for drugs. They apply even if the pharmacist objects to the drug on the grounds that it could cause an abortion or for other moral or religious reasons.
The state board approved the new rules on a unanimous vote saying that pharmacists can’t get in the way of a patient’s "right" to a prescription.
The new rules allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing the drug, but only if a colleague is available at the pharmacy at the time the customer wants the drug. Pharmacy owners are not given an option to exercise their rights.
Instead, they must order the drug if they do not have any of it on hand at the time a customer requests it.
The lawsuit comes after a new survey showing majority of Americans believe pharmacists should be given a conscience clause to protect their moral and religious views.
The Baraga Interactive polling firm conducted the survey for Pharmacists for Life International and found that a majority of Americans favor optional coverage of so-called "birth control," and favor pharmacists being able to enjoy freedom of conscience when to not fill or counsel for drugs.
Sixty-five percent support a pharmacist’s right to decline to fill or counsel for prescription drugs which violate their moral or religious views.
California and Illinois have laws similar to those in Washington while Arkansas, Georgia, South Dakota and Mississippi have laws that support the pharmacist’s right to opt out of dispensing drugs that violate their moral or religious views.