more theocracy

In post-revolutionary Iran, "morality police" rode the streets on motorbikes searching for - and attacking - women who were "immoral", i.e., wearing lipstick, allowing a strand of hair to fall out of their chadors, walking on a sidewalk unaccompanied by a male relative. In Christian America, pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions for products they don't believe women should use.

If you're not following this story, it's about Emergency Contraception, also called the Morning-After Pill, marketed under the name Plan B. (I blogged about access to EC in Canada here.) Pharmacists in various states have been refusing to fill prescriptions for these drugs, citing concerns of conscience. I know the thought of people - make that women - having sex without birth control, or of birth control failure, is a dire problem for other people's consciences. But if you can't do your job properly because your conscience is bothering you, you need to find another profession.

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently ordered pharmacies in his state to fill all prescriptions, no matter what their employees' personal views. That's encouraging. Illinois State Senator Frank Watson, whose family owns a pharmacy that doesn't stock EC, says this is "an infringement on a business decision and also on the pharmacist's right of conscience." Ah, the old "business decision". Government out of our lives. But wait, doesn't that mean... Hm, this gets confusing!

Read about this from a pro-freedom, pro-individual, pro-responsibility point of view on the Bush v Choice blog from NARAL: here and here.

Facts about the Morning-After Pill here. This is not abortion. This is contraception. And this is not about fetuses or the "unborn" or the pre-born or anything they call the blobs of cells they purport to love so much. This is about people who oppose women's freedom. This is a direct attack on women's ability to control their own lives.

It's also why EC needs to be available over the counter.

And it's also a great example of why I can't wait to get the hell out of here.


Anonymous said...

Good Morning..




G said...

So ... now pharmacists' personal moralities are overtaking their professional ethics ... first the fundamentalism reaches politicians, now it reaches professions people trust to remain impartial (because no one never expected that from politicians).

Yet another hit to the once-great democratic ideal of Separation of States. Someone's got to forcefeed the kids some John Stuart Mill in the schools.

You know, I really believe the worst abuse of power is the abuse of religion to trump basic human rights such as making your own life choices ... the fire-and-brimstone approach breeds fear of God, and the Catholic approach guilt before God, as opposed to Buddy Christ (thanks Kevin Smith for that) which many of the more liberal Protestent groups focus on. But that, sadly, is a minority ... people would rather focus on specific letters written to specific cities dealing with specific circumstances than the gospels which were a generalization. Somehow it's better to trust the words of angry disciples than of Buddy Christ himself.

What happens is we get "sheep" who are so afraid to ask questions, because God will smite them if they do. Hey, first thing, no one's been smitten (that just sounds wrong, maybe it's smote) by God since like halfway through the Old Testament. Second, they should read the gospels again. Jesus sat and talked to people, sometimes addressing groups, other times showing up for dinner.

I don't know if the guy existed or not, that isn't up to me to say (I want to believe, is the best way to put it). But regardless of if it is true, the way I like to look at the guy is a dude who sat down, looked people in the eye, told one of his metaphorical stories, and then said, "Tell me, what do you think? Let's chat about what that meant to you".

The Reason approach. Know what? That's something I can believe in.

But some guy coming down saying "I'll kick all your asses if you even think to question authority over anything" ??? Hard to believe someone would actually be goaded into believing something that actually defeats the purpose of what their Bible says this guy Jesus came to do.

But, unfortunatly, there is no shortage of stupid people in the world. Makes for some easy money-grabs on behalf on misled faith - just look at televangelism. But I'll cut this off at that - getting long and rantish now.

G said...

Nice links. Good to see some choice being encouraged here RE the cannibis law for med use. Let's see how long it is before the right jumps their rights up here. Or should I say IF they do ... they were pretty laxed on the proposed possession legislation the other year, too, so maybe there IS hope for free choice up here after all.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

The old adage that "power corrupts" applies to the religous class as well.

As long as they claim that they and only they have a direct line to God it gives them power over the "unwashed masses".

Also note that they're far more interested in the lazy approach of legislating morality then actually trying to make people believe in their values.

Legislated morality isn't morality at all. People act "moral" because they're forced to, not because they actually believe in the way of life. Actually, the previously mentioned Iran is a good example of that. Having known a few Iranians, they all tell me that a large majority over there actually no longer believe in Islam, they just go through the motions because its the law. This is what happened in Europe with the church, and why now only something like 10% of the population attends church.

Galileo said...

When I first read about the move to allow pharmacists to not carry certain items according to their conscience, I thought, "Gee. That's a good idea. No one should be forced to do something they don't think is right."

But then I thought about it some more. Where does it end? Can an emergency room doc withold treatment from a gang member because he disapproves of gang activity? Can he refuse to treat an injury caused by the patient's own stupidity? What if he wants to withold surgery from someone because they are gay, or a different religion, or a different color? Just because they think it's wrong.

Back to the pharmacist. What if he wants to withold AZT from someone with HIV because he assumes that AIDS is a gay disease and thinks it's wrong? What if he doesn't want to fill a prescription for pain killers because he would choose to tough it out and you should too?

Initially, I was even able to answer these questions with, "So what? You can always go to another pharmacist for your drugs." But if everyone in a conservative town is witholding the same prescriptions, it essentially becomes impossible to get.

I really appreciated this line from your post:
But if you can't do your job properly because your conscience is bothering you, you need to find another profession.

When you sign up to be a pharmacist, you know what you're getting into. It's not like you accidentally got the job; it takes a lot of time and effort. So to all the pharmacists out there, know what you're getting yourself into, then live up to your responsibility and quit complaining about it. Otherwise, find something else that's more compatible with your lifestyle.

L-girl said...

Thanks all, for these great comments. You're all such great additions to this discussion.

Galileo, I will be poaching your comment as a future post. I really appreciate the extrapolation.

G said...

Galileo is right on the mark. It's not so much about some (and I stress 'some') religious groups trying to get everyone to believe ... it's about them trying to get everyone to follow, whether or not they agree or believe or have rights to choice, hence legislating morality. And that, folks, is an abuse of religious power.

Kyle, thanks for the bit on the European and Iranian religious systems - it is a danger the churches in North America are facing should the push for leg.morals continue ... and what with the whole Bush/Sciavo thing lately ... not at all a good sign of things to come.

Anonymous said...

One more reason to love Barbara Boxer - she fights back.

There are lots of drugs I find offensive and I'm going to get a degree in pharmacy just so I can NOT prescribe them. I'm also going to be filling a lot of prescriptions for medicinal pot for all the uptight fanatics. This is not optional. They must also listen to lectures on real morality, live and let live and all that...