Missouri Pro-Life Bill Protects Pharmacists Conscience Rights

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 8, 2010   |   2:52PM   |   Washington, DC

A bill filed for the next session of the Missouri legislature would protect the rights of pharmacists who don’t want to dispense drugs that can sometimes cause an abortion.

State Representative David Sater, a Republican who owned a pharmacy in Barry County for 30 years says the measure he introduced would guarantee the rights of pharmacies to decline to sell drugs like the morning after pill and the Plan B or ella drug.

“I think any retail business would be affronted…if state government or federal government came in and told them that they had to sell a certain product,” Sater said, according to St. Louis Public Radio. “We still live in a free country, and we’re just trying to keep it (as) free as possible.”

Paula Gianino, the president of Planned Parenthood of St. Louis and Southwest Missouri, told the radio station lobbyists for the abortion business would be asking lawmakers to oppose the bill.

“The vague language in this bill can be used for pharmacies to find a way to use their own personal, religious and moral decisions and convictions to cut off access from women all over this state to even birth control services,” Gianino claimed.

Missouri pharmacists have had problems in the past that would be rectified by the bill.

Lee of Campaign Life Missouri, a pro-life lobbying organization, talked with LifeNews.com about the measure and said pro-life organizations will strongly support it.

“We applaud Rep. Sater for working to protect the conscience rights of pharmacies that want no involvement with abortion-inducing drugs,” he said. “Whether it is Plan B or ella or any other drug that can cause an early abortion, pharmacy owners should be protected from having to provide or refer for drugs that violate their moral beliefs.”

“This is a bill that pro-life lawmakers have been trying to pass in Missouri for the last seven or eight years without success, but we are hopeful that in 2011 we can finally get it passed,” Lee added.

Lee noted the same legislation had been introduced by former-Rep. Ed Emery, another Republican, for many years and had passed the Missouri House as an amendment in 2009 and 2010, but never made it to the governor’s desk. Emery left office this year because of term limits.

The Missouri Pharmacy Association had previously testified in favor of Emery’s bill, along with a number of right-to-life groups which will likely support this year’s version of the legislation.