Sunday, November 11, 2007

Washington State Judge allows conscience clause for pharmacists

As more and more states threaten to remove conscience protections for pharmacists, yesterday's victory for individual rights in Washington couldn't have come at a better time. After the state passed a rule in July mandating that pharmacists fill prescriptions they find morally objectionable, a pharmacist owner and two employees filed suit. Federal Judge Ronald Leighton ruled on the plantiffs' behalf, indefinitely suspending the regulation and jeopardizing any hopes that it will be implemented in the near future.
In his opinion, Leighton points to the obvious shortcomings of the law. "[The current rules] appear designed to impose a Hobson's choice for the majority of pharmacists who object to Plan B: dispense a drug that ends a life as defined by their religious teachings, or leave their present positions in the state of Washington." Rather than force people to choose between their religious convictions and their jobs, Leighton allows pharmacists to refuse the prescription order so long as they refer patients to the "nearest source for the drug." The debate needed a shot in the arm after New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed a bill into law last week that criminalizes pharmacists who refuse to set aside their personal beliefs and dispense drugs like Plan B or birth control.
We applaud Judge Leighton for rebuffing the current trend of bulldozing pharmacists' rights in favor of customers'.
Family Research Council
I agree that this is a crucial time to fight for freedom of conscience for those who adhere to the Culture of Life. I see our rights seriously threatened by my own state governor, Eliot Spitzer. Catholic hospitals are approaching a showdown with this issue, and I pray that New York bishops have more fortitude than Connecticut bishops who have allowed Plan B to be used in their hospitals for rape victims.

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