by Steven Ertelt
January 10, 2008
Indianapolis, IN (LifeNews.com) — A panel in the Indiana State Senate has approved a bill providing for a pharmacist’s conscience clause. The measure allows the medical professionals to opt out of dispensing drugs that could cause an abortion or be used in an assisted suicide.
The Senate committee approved the bill on a 6-5 vote with all but one Republican supporting the measure and four Democrats and one Republican opposing it.
Sen. Jeff Drozda is the sponsor of the legislation, Senate Bill 3, that says pharmacists can’t be required to dispense the controversial drugs if they cause an abortion, kill in unborn child or are part of euthanasia.
Pharmacists would receive protection from any legal discipline and employers would be charged with a crime for penalizing any employee who followed the provisions in the bill.
According to the newspaper, the Indiana Pharmacists’ Alliance said it knows of no instance of a state pharmacist facing discipline for failing to give out such drugs but Drozda said he has a constituent who came under scrutiny for not dispensing the morning after pill.
He said he patterned the bill after a similar South Dakota law and currently just four states have legislation on the books protecting pharmacists, including Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi.
Sen. Vi Simpson, a leading pro-abortion lawmaker, was one of the lawmakers opposing the measure.
"I don’t believe anyone on this committee believes we need to turn Indiana back to 1965,” she said, according to the Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette.
At least one survey has shown a 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 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.