State and federal lawmakers are waking up to the fact that pro-life pharmacists should be protected from having to dispense abortion causing drugs.
There are some laws on the books, including a federal regulation, that protect doctors from having to perform abortions. But pro-life advocates, such as Nathan Adams of the Christian Legal Society, say those laws don't cover pharmacists.
"There are presently, in many states, conscience clauses which are very narrow in scope," Adams said. "So, the new battleground is in areas that these conscience clauses do not generally protect."
Drugs of greatest concern to pro-life groups are the abortion pill, RU-486, and the so-called "morning after" pill, which pro-lifers say can cause abortions. Some pharmacists have even been fired for declining to fill prescriptions.
Conscience clause legislation that would allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense abortion-inducing drugs was considered in 19 states last year. Two of those legislatures -- Arizona and Massachusetts -- passed such laws.
Pro-abortion groups say women will be denied their rights if pharmacists aren't forced to dispense the drugs. But Adams says conscience laws would do little to keep women from getting abortifacient drugs.
"It's solely an issue of convenience for them. It has nothing to do with the availability of these drugs. There's always going to be somebody willing to prescribe them simply because we have such a large market."
Wendy Wright, senior policy director of Concerned Women for America, added that women are not the real victims of this battle.
"Let's remember what it is the pharmacists are objecting to," Wright said. "They don't want to be a participant in killing another human being. That is not something that we should be forcing upon our citizens."
Wright sees some hypocrisy on the part of the pro-abortion advocates.
"It is extremely ironic that it's the community in the United States that claims to be pro-choice ... that is trying to pass laws to take away people's right to choose their actions."
Congress also is considering legislation that is expected to protect pharmacists. The Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 4691), sponsored by Rep. Michael Bilirakis, R-Fla., has been taken up in the House of Representatives.
The Christian Medical Association points out that requiring pharmacists to fill all prescription requests could create a problem for drug stores that would be forced to stock every drug imaginable.
TAKE ACTION Contact your congressman and urge him or her to safeguard pro-life pharmacists by supporting Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 4691). Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 or see www.house.gov for specific contact information for your member.