6 States Allow Pharmacists To Refuse Birth Control Because Of Religion


7 States Allow Pharmacists To Refuse Birth Control Because Of Religion

UPDATED May 25, 2014 to add the five states with a broadly worded refusal policy.

Six states currently permit pharmacists to refuse a woman prescribed contraception based on personal religious beliefs and an additional five states have a broadly worded refusal policy may apply to pharmacists or pharmacies, but does not specifically include them. This includes birth control pills and emergency contraception otherwise known as the morning after pill. Emergency contraception is FDA approved and available with or without prescription. It’s a time sensitive medication with a high success rate.

The six states permitting refusal are Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri and South Dakota. The five states where the law is broadly worded include: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine and Tennessee.

A doctor prescribes birth control for a variety of medical reasons. It’s not always about preventing births. Those suffering from severe menstrual cramping, endometriosis and ovarian cysts often benefit and find relief when on the pill. Additionally, it is legal to take birth control for the sole purpose of not getting pregnant and it’s abhorrent that a judgmental pharmacist can impose a biased religious belief and deny anyone a medication prescribed by a doctor. Often, the pharmacists who refuse to provide contraception also refuse to help a customer find a willing pharmacy.

Fewer than half of the states in the U.S. address the issue of refusals. In a 2008 study, 51% of Republicans favor legislation requiring pharmacies to provide contraception. A 2007 study reports that 71% of voters also say that pharmacists should not be able to refuse filling a prescription on moral grounds.

What can you do about this? You can find out if any pharmacies in your area are refusing to sell contraception and if they are, write a letter to them explaining why you will refuse to give them your business. You can also alert your friends and family and have them do the same. In 2016, vote out the Tea Party extremist politicians who allow for this and vote in candidates who understand that religion and politics don’t mix—especially when it pertains to women’s reproductive issues.

The first amendment of the United States Constitution, in part, reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

For More detailed information, visit: National Women’s Law Center: Pharmacy Refusals 101

 

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Kimberley Johnson
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