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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Indiana Senate Passes Pharmacist Conscience Protection Bill

LifeNews is reporting that the Indiana state senate has passed a bill similar to South Dakota's law which protects the right of conscience of a pharmacist who does not want to dispense a drug that violates his conscience.

Sen. Jeff Drozda is the Republican senator who sponsored the bill.

Senate Bill 3 came under fire from some lawmakers who support making sure pharmacists don't have to dispense drugs that cause abortions or kill disabled patients in an assisted suicide, but they didn't want to limit birth control.

Pharmacists would receive protection from any legal discipline and employers would be charged with a crime for penalizing any employee who followed the provisions in the bill.

I believe that's even farther than our South Dakota bill goes because ours does not specify a criminal penalty against an employer who might require a pharmacist employee to fill such a prescription.

SDCL 36-11-70 only says, " No such refusal to dispense medication pursuant to this section may be the basis for any claim for damages against the pharmacist or the pharmacy of the pharmacist or the basis for any disciplinary, recriminatory, or discriminatory action against the pharmacist."

The article indicates that a majority of peole support the right of a pharmacist not to dispense drugs which violate his or her conscience:
The Baraga Interactive polling firm conducted the survey for Pharmacists for Life International and found that a majority of Americans favor pharmacists being able to enjoy freedom of conscience when filling or counseling about drugs.

Sixty-five percent support a pharmacist's right to decline to fill or counsel for prescription drugs which violate their moral or religious views.

Of course, they're trying to dismantle our law here in South Dakota with SB 164 in the South Dakota legislature.

Using the power of government to force someone to go against their conscience is a treacherous proposition.


theo said...

SB 3 was introduced because of actual cases in Indiana that raised questions about the appropriate role of pharmacists, vis-à-vis some prescriptions.
I have friends and colleagues that have testified on both sides of this issue in Indiana.

This bill simply reaffirms the professional pharmacists' obligation to always act morally and in the best interest of patients. That some people may disagree on a particular should not override the conscientious decision of the pharmacists.

If the pharmacists should be forced to fill any and all prescriptions, what do we do with physicians who refuse to prescribe certain drugs. My doctor refuses to prescribe certain antibiotics. Should I sue her or demand that she "get another job" because I don't get what I want? Or, should I just go to another doctor if I feel that strongly about it? Or maybe just accept that she may have good reasons for her decisions.

SB 3 is a step in the right direction allowing health care professionals to be independent moral agents bound only by their oath to patients and society and by their integrity.

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