American Medical Association Attacking Pro-Life Pharmacists on Plan B Drug

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 13, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

American Medical Association Attacking Pro-Life Pharmacists on Plan B Drug

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 13
, 2008

Washington, DC ( — The American Medical Association is coming under criticism for attacking pro-life pharmacists and others who want to opt out of dispensing objectionable drugs. The AMA Board of Trustees is considering a policy to promote legislation requiring pharmacists to fill all drugs, including the Plan B drug.

The trustees are asking the AMA membership to adopt a policy that Americans United for Life attorney Denise Burke says "supports eviscerating the freedom of conscience of pharmacists."

The recommendation says the drug pharmacists are most likely to use a moral or religious objection to refuse dispensing is the morning after pill.

"A pharmacist’s deliberate refusal to dispense a drug on religious, moral, or ethical grounds, i.e., pharmacist conscientious objection, has been most often associated with Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, and has received considerable attention in both the lay media and in medical journal commentaries," it reads.

The AMA claims that wrongly puts the pharmacist’s needs ahead of the patient’s.

"Of all of the reasons why a pharmacist might not dispense a legally valid prescription, conscientious objection is the only one that places a pharmacist’s personal views in potential conflict with the best interests of the patient," the recommendation says.

As a result, the AMA wants legislation to force pharmacists to fill all drugs — including those that violate their conscience and could cause abortions.

"Thus, our AMA supports legislation that would require individual pharmacists and pharmacy chains to fill legally valid prescriptions or to provide immediate referral to an appropriate alternative dispensing pharmacy without interference," the recommendation concludes.

Burke says this effort "is just the latest in a well-orchestrated series of attacks on the freedom of conscience of medical professionals."

She says these kinds of attacks have been seen in Congress and state legislatures and have been supported by abortion advocacy groups like NARAL and Planned Parenthood.

"However, this may be the most hypocritical," Burke concludes. "While purportedly supporting freedom of conscience protections for physicians, the AMA is arguing that similar protections should be denied pharmacists."