Monday, June 05, 2006

Let the Hysteria begin!

Board says drugstores can refuse to sell 'morning-after' pill

Sounds ominous, doesn't it.

Except that it's NOT what the Board of Pharmacy in Washington state is doing. It's not about a pharmacy's right to not sell something (which is a different issue). Here's what the Board's rule would do-

The rule, endorsed by the board in a 5-0 vote, says pharmacists must provide timely alternatives if they "cannot dispense" a prescription.

This is about balancing the rights of patients with the rights of pharmacists who have a moral issue with dispensing a particular medication, namely the so-called 'emergency contraception'.

But if you listen to some on the Left, this is one step shy of 'forced pregnancy'. Take a look at {link removed at Riverheart's request} Somehow the point of 'timely alternatives' escapes them in their hysteria to decry this as somehow the government PROHIBITING the sale of certain medications.

(rant continues, click 'Read More')

Pharmacists should have the right to decline work that conflicts with their beliefs as long as they respect the patient, Rod Shafer, executive director of the Washington State Pharmacy Association, said earlier this year.

"We are not dispensing machines," Shafer said. "We are professionals who have as many rights as anybody else."

C.J. Kahler, past president of the association, said the rule endorsed Thursday properly respects the rights of both patients and drug providers.

"The patient needs to get the medication they need; the pharmacist needs to be able to practice within their conscience limits. This allows both," he said.

The Washington Alliance for Reproductive Choice said it was "stunned" by the board's endorsement.

"We were shocked that the Pharmacy Board is ignoring their responsibility to protect patients," said Lauren Trent, chairwoman of the organization.

"Patients have the right to expect that when they go to their pharmacy with a valid, medically appropriate prescription, they will walk out of that pharmacy with the medication they need, and they won't be lectured about it."


No one is talking about 'being lectured' in these instances, and I certainly don't support that. There's a difference between saying, "I'm sorry, I'm not able to fill this prescription, let me find you a pharmacy that can" and being lectured on the 'wrongness' of needing/wanting such a medication.

On a similar note, just WHY is it the governments business to tell a pharmacy which medications it MUST carry? That's the case in Illinois and Maryland at the moment. Or for that matter, why should they being telling insurance companies which medications they MUSt cover for their clients?

I think like anything else, the free market will take care of these things. It could become a selling point for a pharmacy to say that ALL prescriptions will be filled on the spot, or that they DO sell 'Plan B'. It would allow for people that want to support a particular business ethic to do so, on either side of the issue.

But, we'll never be able to discuss the real issues so long as the hysteria of 'banning' birth control and 'forced pregnancy' are the rallying cry of the Left.



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7 Comments:

At June 05, 2006 8:05 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

Wow. Yeah, I actually read that on Riverheart's lj yesterday (I was procrastinating on finance homework, checking friends lists)--it seemed another of those places where starting a debate wouldn't be appropriate on someone else's journal, so instead you bring it over here. I'm hoping this engenders discussion, and meaningful discussion, you know? There has to be a way to communicate on this.

Right now it seems like one side is so blinded by fear that someone is searching for legal ways to force them to bear lots of children--and then we're...well, not blinded, what's the word I'm looking for--focused on the reasons that we're not advocating children-at-any-cost, but it's like we're shouting them so loud that we can't hear. I wish everyone could take a break from this issue long enough to start breathing again, you know?

I have a take on the pharmacist debate that I think you confirmed (correct me if I'm interpreting you wrong). This is about allowing specific pharmacists (and specific pharmacies *only* when they're Catholic or religiously owned, and so have a charter to respect) to avoid dispensing birth control or morning after pills. The reason is not to force anyone to bear children, but to respect everyone's consciences, including those of pharmacists and pharmacy owners, and to allow free control in the marketplace (any business can choose what and what not to sell). We're scared of legislation that would force us to do something we believe is wrong (assist someone else to use artificial birth control)--not only for its own sake but because it is a slippery slope. It's not so far from government mandating us to do things we believe are wrong, to us having to refuse on ethical principle and take the punishment, to a society where Christianity itself is illegal. (I still think that's a pretty long path...and also, God knows what's happening, and--maybe this is where I don't fear it quite so much--if it happens, He'll use it for good.) But still, it's our responsibility to stop it if we can.

I'm going to slip into practical problem-solving mode. Maybe all pharmacies (or all pharmacies who employed pharmacists) who couldn't, in conscience, dispense the Pill, could voluntarily put up signs in prominent places letting their customers know this? That would prevent the event in Riverheart's cartoon where the patient walks in and finds out. Then it would become patient responsiblity to shop around, to distinguish between Catholic pharmacy and others (and that's not such a huge burden in this age...I know I buy my ice cream at Super Wal Mart, my orange soda at Albertsons, and my Michelina's lasagna at Fry's, and I don't feel put out). And also...I wish there was some way to address this enormous fear behind the fear of the restrictions or lack by pharmacies. The "Jesus will heal you don't use medicine" isn't even genuinely Christian (and yes, I've known Christians who've advocated it, but none of the ones I've met have given the matter more than superficial study)...right in the Bible, Paul tells Timothy to use wine for his stomach, etc. I know you know this. I just wish there was some way to quiet the widespread fear, so no one has to yell anymore!

 
At June 06, 2006 10:09 AM, Blogger Kyrie said...

There has to be a way to communicate on this.

You cannot communicate with people who are unwilling to listen. No matter how hard you try.

I wish everyone could take a break from this issue long enough to start breathing again, you know?

As long as they are willing to let fear and hyteria color their lives, there's not much we can do. That's why (in part) I don't BOTHER to post over there. They don't WANT to listen.

This is about allowing specific pharmacists (and specific pharmacies *only* when they're Catholic or religiously owned, and so have a charter to respect) to avoid dispensing birth control or morning after pills. The reason is not to force anyone to bear children, but to respect everyone's consciences, including those of pharmacists and pharmacy owners, and to allow free control in the marketplace (any business can choose what and what not to sell).

Yep, pretty close to what I believe. I think government has no business telling a business what it MUST sell and how it must sell it.

We're scared of legislation that would force us to do something we believe is wrong

It's not a matter of fear. It's a matter of right and wrong. I'm not SCARED of legislation that would 'force' me to do something, it's just wrong.

It's not so far from government mandating us to do things we believe are wrong, to us having to refuse on ethical principle and take the punishment, to a society where Christianity itself is illegal.

Yeah, no. See, that's the hysteria on OUR side, and I'm not buying in to it either. It's NOT going to happen.

Maybe all pharmacies (or all pharmacies who employed pharmacists) who couldn't, in conscience, dispense the Pill, could voluntarily put up signs in prominent places letting their customers know this?

Except that it's not ALL pharmacists at a given pharmacy. It may be one out of six atthe local Walgreens or whatever.

Keep in mind too, that we're talking mostly about 'emergency contraception' in the majority of cases. Birth control pills are much less of an issue, althought the paranoid Left would and does equate them more.

Then it would become patient responsiblity to shop around, to distinguish between Catholic pharmacy and others

Keep in mind too, that we're not singling out Catholics here. There are just as many folks of other faiths, Christans and non who have conscious issues here too.

On shopping around, when I was on the hormone patch after my surgery, I had to shop around to find a pharmacy that stocked it regularly. It just wasn't requested very often and so I ended up having to make sure to call in my refills at least 48 hours ahead. Should I be able to sue my Walgreens because they didn't keep the med I needed in stock? That's where we're headed with 'emergency contraception'.

The "Jesus will heal you don't use medicine" isn't even genuinely Christian

I know, and I cringed to see the 'holier than thou' MAN behind the counter (bowtie and all) telling the women to just get over it.

 
At June 06, 2006 10:53 PM, Blogger Alicia said...

I agree on the man with the bowtie comment (nicely said, better than I could have!) and lots of this, I don't have anything more to add; you clarified so well. Thanks.

Regarding the hysteria on our side, though, maybe I'm misinterpreting something? I'm just trying to understand why this is, not only important, but also sometimes frightening, and we've brought that up before, fear that one's choices might be taken away. Maybe the "morning after" pill debate comes from a different place, though, and I'm reading it wrong. Oh, help me out on that one too: does that pill actually cause abortion? I've read articles that imply both ways.

 
At June 07, 2006 6:24 AM, Blogger Kyrie said...

Regarding the hysteria on our side, though, maybe I'm misinterpreting something? I'm just trying to understand why this is, not only important, but also sometimes frightening, and we've brought that up before, fear that one's choices might be taken away.

If we lived pretty much anywhere else in the world, these sorts of fears, on both sides, might be more justified. But here I just can't see Christianity becoming a hate crime, or any of that nonsense, because we have so many safeguards built into our system. That's not to say that we don't have to be diligent about protecting our religious rights, because indiviual areas may have specific issues where ruling overstep their constitutional bounds.

Fearing a country where it is illegal to 'be who I am' is just as much meaningless hysteria for Christians as it is for Pagans. I know I've had that conversation with some of our pagan friends over the years. BOTH sides think the other is trying to ban their way of life. I refuse to play into that way of thinking.

Maybe the "morning after" pill debate comes from a different place, though, and I'm reading it wrong. Oh, help me out on that one too: does that pill actually cause abortion? I've read articles that imply both ways.

Certain types of the pill can, as a secondary effect, cause abortions. Much less now tha it used to be, because the levels of hormones in the pill are generally lower. Also, there are many types of hormone treatments for birth control that aren't in pill form these days. I have been told on good authority from a couple of priests I trust that there is no sin in a pharmacist dispensing birth control. But, it does fall into the realm of individual conscience, so I think that it is incumbant on a pharmacist with a personal moral issue here to do everything in his power to assist the patient in getting her perscription filled while maintaining the distance that they need.

And NO lecturing about it to the patient. Ideally, the patient would not even need to know WHY their script was handed off to some one else or why they were being sent to a pharmacy down the street to get it filled.

Does that help?

 
At June 08, 2006 3:12 AM, Blogger Alicia said...

Does it help? Absolutely. Thanks. Especially that last bit at the end--I like that; the patient doesn't even have to know that the script was moved.

I've appreciated and enjoyed this discussion! More substantial comments tomorrow...today I found myself saving your journal for last because there was so much well-written, intense stuff...so I'll come over first thing tomorrow afternoon.

 
At June 12, 2006 3:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

All politics aside, I would appreciate it if you would not link to my LJ, as I have attempted to keep the spiders and other 'bots from linking to it in search engines, and that is, for some reason, being defeated. Thanks.

-Riverheart

 
At June 12, 2006 8:19 AM, Blogger Kyrie said...

Huh. It never occurred to me that a person with a PUBLIC blog/LJ would have a problem with people linking to it.

But okay, I'll not link to you directly again.

 

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