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A pharmacist’s right to religion

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, December 5, 2006

According to the fourth Indiana Senate Bill:

No person shall be required, as a condition of training, employment, pay, promotion, or privileges, to do any of the following:

(1) Agree to perform or participate in the per forming of abortions.

(2) Dispense:

(A) a medical device or drug that may result in, or that is intended to result in, an abortion; or

(B) a birth control device or medication.

Because birth control is often a religious issue, as is the case in Roman Catholicism, a pharmacist’s first amendment right to free exercise of religion must be protected. A pharmacist should not be forced to aid in an immoral act, the use of birth control or even worse, the use of possible abortifacients that prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the endometrium. Numerous states across the nation have justly passed laws similar to Indiana’s with regards to pharmacists and the distribution of birth control, but several states have failed to protect a pharmacist’s rights.

Obviously there is more to take into consideration than the pharmacist’s rights; each time a pharmacist refuses to fill a prescription, a patient has been denied legally prescribed medication. According to the Supreme Court, as seen in Griswold v. Connecticut and Eisenstadt v. Baird, a woman’s right to access contraceptives is protected by her right to privacy. A woman’s right to access contraceptives is not a right specified by the constitution whereas the right to free exercise of religion is. It only makes sense that a clearly stated first amendment right, the free exercise of religion, trumps a right drawn in the penumbra of the amendments, the right to privacy, in the pharmacist situation.

Furthermore, I live in Indiana and have not heard of any patient that was unable to attain her birth control medication. It is unreasonable to force a pharmacist to act against his or her religion in a matter so important as life or death – especially when practicing his or her religion does not truly infringe on another person’s rights.

Nicholas Lynch


St. Edward’s Hall

Dec. 4