Morning after pill is not the same as an abortion

Pharmacists in Washington are suing the state for requiring that they sell the morning-after pill, saying the pill is equivalent to an abortion and that the requirement violates their civil liberties.

First off, emergency contraception such as the “morning-after pill” is not the same as an abortion, chemical or otherwise.  Abortion implies the removal of an embryo after it has implanted on the wall of the uterus, while the morning-after pill prevents either ovulation (release of egg), fertilization, or implantation of the embryo.  Obviously if you believe life begins at fertilization, than you may still be opposed, but there is a distinction between the two that people often confuse.

Second, while no doubt it would be wrong to force pharmacists to dispense drugs of which they are fundamentally opposed, they have a choice as to whether they want to work in that particular field.  By refusing to fill a legal prescription for a customer, however, they are forcing their views onto that person – a person who, depending on location, may not have a choice as to where else to go and get their prescription filled (and in the case of emergency contraception, have only a small window of opportunity for the drug to be effective).  This is wrong.

When you assume the role of a health care professional – be it pharmacist, nurse, doctor, etc – you are explicitly agreeing to help provide care for that patient, and agreeing that the care provided should be in the best interest of the patient regardless of whether it is in your own best interest.  Do I think all doctors should be required to provide abortions if a patient asks?  No, but if they are unwilling they should direct the patient to someone who will serve their needs (this pharmacist requirement allows for this stipulation) .  Refusing to do so is selfish, and violates the patient-provider relationship.  If you don’t feel you are capable of directing them to someone who will provide the care they need/desire, than quite frankly I think you belong in a different field.  The medical profession should not be a place to force your moral views onto others, it is a place to provide care for those in need.


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