Indiana House Kills Pharmacist Conscience Clause on Abortion Drugs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Indiana House Kills Pharmacist Conscience Clause on Abortion Drugs

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18
, 2008

Indianapolis, IN ( — After initially getting approval from the Indiana Senate, a bill that would put a pharmacist’s conscience clause in place died in the Indiana House. Senate Bill 3 would protect pharmacists by removing any legal discipline for refusing to dispense drugs that they believe could cause abortions.

Employers would be charged with a crime for penalizing any employee who followed the provisions in the bill.

Despite passage in the Senate, the bill never made it out of a House committee.

Mike Fichter, the director of Indiana Right to Life, blamed the result on pro-abortion Democrats who prevented the bill from getting a hearing.

"Democrat leadership in the Indiana House is doing great injustice to Indiana pharmacists by refusing to allow a vote on this important legislation," he said.

"Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were ready to pass this protective measure, but Speaker of the House Pat Bauer and his Democrat committee chairmen did everything within their power to make sure the bill never had a shot for passage," he added.

As a result, "Indiana pharmacists will continue to be forced to fill prescriptions that violate personal conscience or face losing their jobs."

On the Senate side, Sen. Jeff Drozda, the Republican sponsor of the bill, had to call for a second vote in the Senate after senators initially tied 24-24 on the bill. They changed their minds and the second vote led to a 30-18 result for the measure.

Drozda 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.

Fichter told previously that 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."

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 –