Kansas: Brownback Signs Bill Protecting Pro-Life Pharmacists

State   Steven Ertelt   May 15, 2012   |   11:08AM    Topeka, KS

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense drugs that may cause abortions, protecting their conscience and religious rights.

The governor signed the Heath Care Rights of Conscience Act, the new law preventing anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they “reasonably believe” might result in an abortion. The measure is seen as an update or upgrade to existing law, approved in 1969, allowing doctors the right to opt out of performing or assisting in abortions.

State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, sponsored the bill and said it applies to the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug that has killed dozens of women and injured thousands more but also applies to the morning after pill and ella, drugs that can cause early-term abortions. According to the Kansas City Star, Kinzer said a pharmacist would need “reasonable medical basis” to believe the drug caused abortions.

Kinzer  explained, “If someone were fired or sued for refusing to provide a drug, he said, he or she could then litigate whether there was a basis for believing the drug would cause an abortion.”

Kathy Ostrowski of Kansans for Life applauded Brownback for signing the bill and said, “Seven other states have similar conscience-protecting laws. Courts have consistently ruled that the so-called right to an abortion does not require that all medical professionals be forced to perform them.”

“Under the Healthcare Rights of Conscience Act, professionals will also not be forced to refer for abortions. The law also expands conscience protection to apply to all medical facilities, not just hospitals,” she added. “Kansans for Life targeted passage of the bill as a top priority especially since the current federal climate is showing increased hostility to religious liberty and is pushing healthcare to include abortion without exclusions.”

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“But adding to the moral confusion– especially for pharmacists– is the fact that drugs labeled contraceptive, like “Ella”  are more chemically identical to drugs specifically designed to induce abortion. Testimony supplied to the House Judiciary committee relayed that labels for oral contraceptives all include warning of a “post-fertilization” abortifacient effect,” she said. “This is why the bill’s language covers drugs and devices “reasonably believed” by the professional to  cause abortion.”

Sen. Garrett Love (R-Montezuma) was chief sponsor in the Senate.

ACTION:  Thank Governor Brownback by going to https://governor.ks.gov/contact-the-governor/contact-governor