Washington Board of Pharmacy to Revisit Conscience Rights for Pharmacists
by Dan Kennedy
September 7, 2010
LifeNews.com Note: Dan Kennedy is a longtime pro-life advocate in Washington state who has been the CEO of Human Life of Washington, the statewide pro-life educational organization.
In 2006, the Governor, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Northwest Women’s Law Center (now Legal Voice) demanded that the Washington Board of Pharmacy pass regulations forcing pharmacists and pharmacies to violate their conscience and dispense Plan B , the morning after pill.
Their demands were a part of a national agenda by pro-abortion groups to eliminate conscience rights for these health care professionals and to force private businesses to sell early abortifacients such as Plan B and Ella.
Although the Board initially voted to pass a regulation supporting conscience rights, it abruptly reversed its position when the Governor threatened the Board.
In 2007, the Board passed the final regulations that require pharmacists and pharmacies to dispense drugs like Plan B and Ella regardless of a pharmacist’s religious objection. They prohibit providers from referring patients to nearby providers when the providers have a conscientious objection, but in practice allow providers to refer patients for business and secular reasons.
In a recent turn of events, the Board has re-opened the rulemaking process.
The Board is considering amending the anti-conscience regulations to allow providers to refer patients to nearby providers if they have a conscientious objection to dispensing a drug. It is essential that the Board hears the voice of those who support conscience rights. We have a unique opportunity to stand up for life and faith and to change the law.
Our right and our duty to act according to our conscience is a foundational principle of liberty. A society that denies individuals the right to act in accord with their conscience, being forced to either violate one’s conscience or abandon one’s livelihood is an act of the worst sort of oppression.
The right to act according to one’s conscience is a right that no American should be apathetic about.
Here’s how you can help:
Provide a written comment on the Pharmacy Board website at fortress.wa.gov/doh/policyreview/AddComment.aspx?ID=647 [After identifying yourself, you will be required to indicate whether you concur or not. Indicate you concur – you are not concurring with any specific rule, but with the CR101 that explains the board is considering amending the rules to allow more options for pharmacists], or email your own comment. (For record-keeping purposes, you must provide your contact information. Comments are anonymous).
Attend the Board hearings on September 17th in Renton and September 29th in Kent.
Consider providing testimony at the hearings that supports the right of pharmacists and pharmacies to conscientiously object to dispensing Plan B and Ella.
The pro-abortion groups have sent out many emails to their supporters urging them to provide written comments and testimony at the hearings. Whether or not you provide live testimony, it is important for the pro-conscience community to stand up and be counted. We don’t want to miss this opportunity.
The Board of Pharmacy will hold two rules writing workshops.
Date: Friday, September 17, 2010
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Place: Blackriver Training and Conference Center
800 Oakesdale Ave SW
Renton, WA 98057
Date: Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Place: CenterPoint Commons – Conference Center
20809 72nd Avenue South
Kent, Washington 98032
Sign Up for Free Pro-Life News From LifeNews.com
News Report Receive a free daily email report from LifeNews.com with the latest pro-life news stories on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here. Receive a free twice-weekly email report with the latest pro-life news headlines on abortion, euthanasia and stem cell research. Sign up here.