Going after the morning-after pill

Illinois has become the latest battleground in the fight over women's reproductive rights.

Topics: War Room,

Karen Brauer was a pharmacist at a suburban Cincinnati Kmart until she was fired for refusing to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, which she considered tantamount to abortion. She would give women a hard time over birth control pills. “I’d work on them every month. I’d say, ‘Hey, when are you going to get off the pill?’” she told the Chicago Sun-Times recently.

Most women would not appreciate their local pharmacists making crucial reproductive decisions for them, especially in an emergency. But now, the American Center for Law and Justice is trying to secure pharmacists’ right to do so, in court. On Wednesday, the right-wing legal group, which was founded by Pat Robertson, filed suit against Illinois’ Democratic governor Rod Blagojevich over an emergency order he issued earlier this month requiring pharmacists to fill all contraceptive prescriptions. Blagojevich handed down the executive order after a pharmacist in Chicago refused to dispense Plan B, the morning-after pill, to a customer. The pharmacist’s supporters defended him by invoking the state’s Right of Conscience Act, which permits doctors and other “medical personnel” to deny health care services to a patient if it violates their moral convictions. Gov. Blagojevich says the law does not apply to druggists; the ACLJ disagrees.

Eleven other states are now debating similar legislation; four others — Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and South Dakota — have laws that specifically protect any pharmacist who puts his or her conscience before an obligation to a woman who is seeking to exercise her reproductive rights.



On the other side of the issue, a handful of states are considering laws that would require pharmacists to fulfill their professional obligation to dispense all medications. Under two bills pending in the California legislature, druggists could face censure for refusing to fill a scrip.

“We’re simply trying to ensure that consumers — women — are not abandoned and that they’ll have timely access to the medication,” state Sen. Deborah Ortiz, author of one of the bills, told the L.A. Times.

San Francisco-based freelance journalist Julia Scott writes about water and energy issues for various publications. She also covers the environment for Bay Area News Group, a chain of newspapers in Northern California.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 13
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Api Étoile

    Like little stars.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Calville Blanc

    World's best pie apple. Essential for Tarte Tatin. Has five prominent ribs.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chenango Strawberry

    So pretty. So early. So ephemeral. Tastes like strawberry candy (slightly).

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Chestnut Crab

    My personal fave. Ultra-crisp. Graham cracker flavor. Should be famous. Isn't.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    D'Arcy Spice

    High flavored with notes of blood orange and allspice. Very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Esopus Spitzenberg

    Jefferson's favorite. The best all-purpose American apple.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Granite Beauty

    New Hampshire's native son has a grizzled appearance and a strangely addictive curry flavor. Very, very rare.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hewes Crab

    Makes the best hard cider in America. Soon to be famous.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Hidden Rose

    Freak seedling found in an Oregon field in the '60s has pink flesh and a fragrant strawberry snap. Makes a killer rose cider.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Knobbed Russet

    Freak city.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Newtown Pippin

    Ben Franklin's favorite. Queen Victoria's favorite. Only apple native to NYC.

    Clare Barboza/Bloomsbury

    Uncommon Apples

    Pitmaston Pineapple

    Really does taste like pineapple.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>