Monday, November 21, 2005

A Bitter Pill

An article in this morning's paper about the morning after pill bothers me a great deal. It's not so much about the pill - that's a whole different posting. It's about people in professions that serve the public need refusing to do so on the basis of religion. This is an ominous trend.

The particulars in this case are pharmacists who won't fill a legal prescription due to their personal beliefs - couched in religion. This morning's article went even deeper - a physician who wouldn't write the prescription for the same reason. It frightens me that I might be deprived of a medication I need because the dispensing agent doesn't think I should have it. What if the pharmacist wouldn't fill my blood pressure medicine because having such is my fault because of bad diet? Or the doctor wouldn't prescribe it for the same reason? Couch it as a religious belief and they get a pass? Where would the line be drawn once these practices gain a foothold?

Couching such actions with religious belief is no different than the religious right trying to dictate the rights of all those who disagree with them. It has no business in the market place or in health care. At best no pharmacy should retain a pharmacist who holds such views; if they choose to then it should be advertised loud and clear that they do not dispense such drugs.

The same should hold true for doctors. It never occurred to me to ask a doctor if his or her religious beliefs would preclude my getting the best possible care. I'll ask now.

We've just witnessed the contradiction of circumstance with our Supreme Court nominees. It was verboten to discuss John Robert's Catholicism but Harriet Miers' Evangelical ties were all the rage. If this is what happens when the lines are blurred on that level, what chance do we the people have of sorting it out in our local drug store?

2 comments:

Word Tosser said...

Catholic Drs. would not write out a birth control pill in the 1960 & 70's ... don't know if they had problems with pharmacy doing the same.
So the girls/wives had to go to another doctor...

Mel said...

If the pharmacists have a problem with it, then they shouldn't be working there. It is not their place to decide what you should and shouldn't take. If you've got the prescription, it means you need it.

On the other hand, there's still the fact that they're there to provide you with a service which, therefore, as a consumer, you cannot be denied, no matter what they believe in.