Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signs law protecting pharmacists’ conscience rights

From the “It’s Depressing We Need a Law for This” file, the Kansas City Star reports that Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback has just signed a bill to let pharmacists refuse to provide abortifacient drugs:

Called the Heath Care Rights of Conscience Act, the new law will bar anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they “reasonably believe” might result in the termination of a pregnancy. The law was signed Monday.

Cue “war on women” outrage from the choice crowd:

Critics say the law will open the door for a pharmacist to refuse a request for something like the “morning-after” pill, which the Mayo Clinic says can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

They argued that the law puts pharmacists and physicians in a position to refuse birth control and that it will affect many women, especially those in small towns and rural communities since the health provider wouldn’t be required to provide a referral somewhere else.

But proponents say that’s not the case:

Abortion opponents said the bill is a narrow upgrade of a 1969 Kansas law that said no one should be required to perform or participate in abortion procedures.

State Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, was the bill’s sponsor. He said the law was intended to cover the abortion drug RU-486, not contraceptive medications. The morning-after pill is different from RU-486, which is used to chemically induce an abortion.

To be protected under the law, Kinzer said, a pharmacist would need “reasonable medical basis” to believe the drug would cause an abortion.

It’s tempting to simply point out that abortifacients shouldn’t even be legal to begin with – they function by destroying newly created human beings, after all, and as such aren’t fundamentally different from surgical abortions – and that pro-aborts should thank their lucky stars that they’ve been successful enough to win their legal acceptance, carving out a glaring exception to America’s founding proposition that every person has an equal right to life.

But our foes aren’t about to subject their ambition to any sort of commonsense boundaries, so we have to engage them wherever they pop up.

Regardless of what you believe a good pharmacist should offer, the fact remains that it’s ultimately his right to choose what practices he wishes to participate in. Conscience rights are a well-established principle in medicine, and for anyone who takes the Hippocratic Oath seriously, precious few conscience objections can be more valid than those concerning the elective destruction of innocent human life.

When we move beyond hospitals and into retail pharmacies, the pharmacist’s rights become even clearer. It’s his establishment, sustained by his money and labor. Consequently, the ultimate decision for what drugs he wants to supply rests with him. Or do we want an America where everyone has to conform his or her business to someone else’s values?

The relationship between a patient and a druggist is voluntary; the latter isn’t forcing the former to take his business to him. Just as the latter is free to run his business according to his values, the former is free to reject him in favor of another he finds more agreeable.

Granted, circumstances such as the number of options in close proximity may make finding a preferable option more difficult from time to time, but that’s hardly the pharmacist’s fault – and if mothers don’t even have a responsibility to not kill their own children, then pharmacists can’t possibly have a responsibility to provide goods and services to complete strangers.

Freedom often means inconvenience and uncertainty, but it’s a far better guiding light than the alternatives. But while pro-aborts could be solving this “problem” by working to set up their own pharmacies where they’re “needed,” their impulse is to instead force the rest of us to take up their cause for them. The cold hard truth is that they don’t believe in freedom – not for the unborn, not for pharmacists, not for anyone.

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