Virginia Legislature Defeats Bill Targeting New Pro-Life Catholic Pharmacy

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 29, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Virginia Legislature Defeats Bill Targeting New Pro-Life Catholic Pharmacy

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 29
, 2009

Richmond, VA (LifeNews.com) — The Virginia legislature has pulled a bill specifically targeting a pro-life Catholic pharmacy that refuses to carry any drugs that can cause abortions. Last summer, the Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy (DMC) opened in Chantilly, Virginia and abortion advocates have been upset it won’t sell birth control or the Plan B pill.

Since opening, the pharmacy has received praise from the pro-life community, but delegate David Englin from Alexandria filed legislation to directly target it.

In the House Health Welfare and Institutions committee, Delegate Englin introduced the bill mandating that any pharmacist refusing to fulfill a contraception prescription treat the patient “in a nonjudgmental manner” and not subject her to “indignity, humiliation, or breeches in confidentiality.”

The measure would have also prohibited a pharmacist for confiscating a prescription he will not fill and to post a large sign making it clear the pharmacy will not fill prescriptions for birth control drugs.

After the bill’s introduction, delegates began voicing their concerns and questions and pro-life delegates said the bill was purposefully vague.

The committee ultimately defeated HB 2373 on a 14-8 vote.

Dr. John Bruchalski, one of the directors of the pharmacy, issued a statement responding to the vote.

“This is the second issue in a few days which attempts to suppress the ability of Catholics and the Catholic Church to practice their moral beliefs,” he said, referring to the Congressional bill giving money to Planned Parenthood as the other.

“Divine Mercy Care is values-based and consumer-driven. Both patients and professionals do not want to abandon their conscience while they seek medical care," he said.

Victoria Cobb, the president of the Family Foundation, also talked about the bill in an email to LifeNews.com.

"A representative from NARAL spoke in favor of the bill. Interestingly enough, she claimed that if the bill forced pharmacists to distribute any particular drugs NARAL would not support the bill," she said. "Her statement is in stark contrast with the organization’s position on their web site."

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