MADISON, WI; SPRINGFIELD, IL; PHOENIX, AZ, April 15, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Governors in two states are mandating that pharmacists, irregardless of their deeply-held religious beliefs, dispense abortifacient birth-control and morning-after pills.
Arizona Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano vetoed conscience legislation Wednesday that would have allowed pharmacists the right to refuse sales of abortifacients like the birth control and morning-after pills.
“Pharmacies and other health care service providers have no right to interfere in the lawful personal medical decisions made by patients and their doctors,” she claimed in her veto, as reported by the dailystar.com.
Arizona Catholic Conference executive director Ron Johnson said Napolitano's veto is a civil rights abuse against Catholics who cannot, in good conscience, dispense the medications.
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich meanwhile filed an emergency amendment to the state code April 1, requiring pharmacists to dispense medication – even if filling the prescriptions violate their conscience and religious beliefs. Illinois State had in place conscience legislation, exempting pharmacists from dispensing drugs that conflict with their religious views.
The American Center for Law and Justice is defending two pharmacists who are challenging the governor’s mandate. “This directive is not only legally flawed but it puts pharmacists in the untenable position of having to choose between adhering to their religious beliefs and violating a law that could cost them their jobs,” said Francis J. Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin pharmacist Neil Noesen, who in 2002 refused to fill a prescription for oral contraceptives on the grounds that to do so was in violation of his religious principles, was reprimanded Wednesday by his pharmacy board, who also set limits on his license to practice as a pharmacist.
The limits include advanced written notification to employers about what drugs he will refuse to dispense, and what procedures he will take to ensure the patient has access to the medication. In addition, Noesen was required to pay $20,000 towards the costs of the proceedings, and attend six hours of continuing education in pharmacy practice.
LifeSiteNews.com reported in May 2004 that a woman had filed a complaint of unprofessional conduct against Noesen with the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing. Noesen refused to accept a settlement fine of US $250 and is contested the charge.