A resolution that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing morally controversial products such as the Morning After Pill gained substantial support from pharmacists at the AGM of B.C. Pharmacists on October 12th.
A number of pharmacists took to the microphone to voice their strong support; only one pharmacist spoke in opposition. Although the preliminary show-of -hands vote was not won, supporters of the resolution do not see this as a defeat, but simply as a sign that more work needs to be done.
At best, the current Code of Ethics for pharmacists acknowledges that some members may run into moral dilemmas, but does not provide accommodation for conscientious objectors.
“It is ironic that the B.C. Health Minister wants to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies while our Premier wants pharmacists to give out the morning after pill like candy. Scientifically, this is an abortion causing drug developed primarily to act against implantation of a live human embryo in vivo. It is a product that professional pharmacists may refuse to dispense for medical, ethical reasons, or on moral or religious grounds, not to mention liability concerns and the possibility of having angry parents of teenagers coming after us. We still do not know long -term effects of repeated use of the morning after pill, but we do know that these high doses of hormones have been strongly linked to breast cancer. We will be using our young women as guinea pigs,” says Cristina Alarcon, British Columbia representative for a group called Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience.
” Regardless of where you stand on the moral issues surrounding abortifacient use, pharmacists who do not wish to participate must be respected and should not be FORCED to refer”, says Alarcon.
Miss Alarcon made the opening remarks at the AGM in support of the resolution that would recognize a pharmacist’s right to refuse a prescription on moral grounds.
” Conscientious objectors simply want to exercise the right to not participate in morally objectionable treatments and the right to freedom of conscience in matters that pertain to morals and religion in accordance with Canadian Human Rights jurisprudence. We do not claim to have a monopoly on the profession, and we are not blocking access nor infringing on a patient’s ” right to choose”. Furthermore, with the dawn of ever more controversial “treatments”, such as euthanasia,
RU-486, genetic manipulation , and execution (as referred to in our Mar/Apr College bulletin), health care workers are in greater need of Conscience Clause Legislation in this country. This is what I am fighting for,” she continues; “If we are to act in the public’s best interests, we must act freely and responsibly, and not as coerced automatons as our College currently mandates, nor as dispensing machines.
For further information, please call Miss Cristina Alarcon, at 604-222-8317 or at 604-974-0993 ext. 1232