by Steven Ertelt
January 30, 2008
Indianapolis, IN (LifeNews.com) — After initially tying on a vote on a pharmacist’s conscience clause last week, the Indiana State Senate approved the measure on Tuesday. Sen. Jeff Drozda, the Republican sponsor of the bill, called for another vote and several members changed their minds on the bill to change the outcome from 24-24 to a 30-18 vote for the bill.
Senate Bill 3 came under fire from some lawmakers who support making sure pharmacists don’t have to dispense drugs that cause abortions or kill disabled patients in an assisted suicide, but they didn’t want to limit birth control.
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.
Drozda told his colleagues that he would be open to an amendment to exempt non-abortifacient contraception from the bill.
"If we need to put language in there that specifically addresses the concerns, then we will get it done in the House," Drozda said, according to an AP report.
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.
Mike Fichter, the director of Indiana Right to Life, told LifeNews.com late Tuesday that pro-life advocates in the state were partly responsible for some legislators changing their minds on the bill.
"Yesterday I asked for a groundswell of support for Senate Bill 3 and today it passed with an amazing six vote swing in the Indiana Senate," he said.
He said the measure is necessary to "protect pharmacists from being forced to fill prescriptions for drugs that could be used for abortion, euthanasia, or assisted suicide."
The Indiana Senate also approved a second measure on a 39-9 vote that would give women considering an abortion more information on the development of their unborn baby.
That legislation was originally worded to tell women that the baby will feel intense pain during an abortion, but it was modified to say the baby may feel pain and to note that medical professionals have differing views on this.
SB 146 also tells women that human life scientifically begins at the point of conception, requires that informed consent provisions be delivered in writing, and requires that Indiana abortionists have local hospital admitting privileges in cases of botched abortions.
Both measures now head to the Indiana House, which Democrats control and where the fate of the measures is less certain.
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 filling or counseling about 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.
Related web sites:
Indiana Right to Life – https://www.indianalife.org