June 18, 2008

Pharmacys Refuse to Sell Birth Control

It shouldn't be a big surprise that fundamentalist Catholics accept a mother's death over her unborn child. They've been consistent on this matter as long as I can remember. It DOES surprise me that the notion of using birth control is considered equal to abortion in the USA, among protestants. Read on...
Dominionist pharmacies: the newest front in the war on women's health
By dogemperor, Mon Jun 16, 2008
No reproductive health for you!
The Washington Post writes about the new hotness in the dominionist "parallel economy"--and right off the bat, reveals to us just how extensive the problem of "moral refusal" has become:
When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.
That's because the drugstore, located in a typical shopping plaza featuring a Ruby Tuesday, a Papa John's and a Kmart, will be a "pro-life pharmacy" -- meaning, among other things, that it will eschew all contraceptives.
The pharmacy is one of a small but growing number of drugstores around the country that have become the latest front in a conflict pitting patients' rights against those of health-care workers who assert a "right of conscience" to refuse to provide care or products that they find objectionable.
"The United States was founded on the idea that people act on their conscience -- that they have a sense of right and wrong and do what they think is right and moral," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Society, a Chicago public-interest law firm that is defending a pharmacist who was fined and reprimanded for refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. "Every pharmacist has the right to do the same thing," Brejcha said.
Of course, there's a more ulterior reason why the trend is going towards setting up completely dominionist-run pharmacies (in a remarkably similar way to how attempts to promote young-earth creationism have morphed over the years as the courts shoot them down).
The sad thing is, these sorts of "moral refusal" clauses--and the existence of loopholes that allow dominionist pharmacies to completely skirt around "must carry or refer"--do have very real consequences for women.
For starters, "the pill" is not just used for birth control. It turns out that "the pill" is used for many conditions where hormonal regulation is a must--PCOS (in which "the pill", longterm, can be both lifesaving and fertility-saving; the only treatment for PCOS other than "The Pill" or Depo-Provera is surgical removal of the ovaries, and untreated PCOS can lead to morbid obesity, type II diabetes, and certain forms of cancer), as well as other problems of hormonal regulation, are commonly treated with "The pill". Newer versions of "The Pill" such as Seasonale (that only have a "period cycle" once every three months) are also becoming frequently used for treatment of endometriosis.
Secondly, there are conditions where it would be very harmful--to the mother, to the fetus, or both--for her to become pregnant, and not having effective hormonal therapy could well deprive women of healthcare options unrelated to pregnancy. Among other things, prescriptions for a number of drugs including Thalomid (thalidomide, now used both in leprosy treatment and in clinical trials for various cancers) and Accutane and other retinoids (used in treatment of severe, disabling acne and certain types of psoriasis as well as basal cell carcinoma chemo) require you to be on at least two separate forms of birth control (one hormonal, one a barrier method) unless you have had a hysterectomy--and yes, documentation is required of this.
Thirdly--and this has been less publicised--"moral refusal" goes far beyond just refusing to fill "the Pill" and Plan B. As I've written before, "moral refusal" of any prescription from women's clinics has been documented--even those prescriptions that are explicitly for support of a pregnancy to term such as pregnancy-related vitamins. In addition, refusal of antibiotics prescribed by women's clinics have been documented, as have refusals of medication that can be used for treatment of genital herpes (and also has applications of treatment of stuff NOT for genital herpes--like, oh, chickenpox in adults or immunosuppressed kids, or people exposed to simian herpes B virus--both of which can kill, and kill in particularly grotesque manner).
[...] I've already noted in past in a series on the dominionist "parallel economy" in medicine--which includes a section on dominionist OB/GYN services--how Mississippi in fact has such a broad "moral refusal" law that even EMTs and ambulance drivers can claim "moral refusal" in regards to rendering emergency treatment and transport to hospital. I predicted, two years ago, that this would end up with people being refused to be taken for needed lifesaving healthcare as a result.
Unfortunately--and in a sad confirmation--the Washington Post article has noted that there are now cases of women being refused transport for medically necessary abortions:
The pharmacies are emerging at a time when a variety of health-care workers are refusing to perform medical procedures they find objectionable. Fertility doctors have refused to inseminate gay women. Ambulance drivers have refused to transport patients for abortions. Anesthesiologists have refused to assist in sterilizations. (Emphasis mine.)
Generally, a woman won't be taking an ambulance to have an abortion unless there is a bona fide medical reason she may need one--and there are a plethora of reasons why a woman, even one normally "pro-life", would be required to make the choice to terminate her pregnancy.
[...] One wonders if the "every zygote is sacred" crowd would be happy to let women die in attempts to carry tubal pregnancies--or rather, one would wonder if they would, if one wasn't aware that this is in fact the case in El Salvador, which not only has banned abortion (even in medically necessary cases) but considers it a felony--and has several women die a year of ruptured tubal pregnancies.
[...] In fact, there is an entire website entitled "A Heartbreaking Choice" for people who had to end up terminating pregnancies--very much wanted pregnancies--for medical reasons. It's a horrible thing to go through--but it happens. And extending "moral refusal" to refusing to take an ill woman to the women's clinic or one of the few hospitals allowed to perform an abortion can end up in losing both the fetus and the mother. :( [...]

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I would like to thank you for posting this.I live in MS.I know someone who was refused the morning after pill by a pharmacist.It's not even about abortion here necessarily.It's also about the right to birth control and morning after pills.It's a very sad situation here.