Pharmacist freedom of conscience recognized in British Columbia

LifeSite News

Steve Weatherbe

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 9, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Christian pharmacists in British Columbia can now practice with a clear conscience.

Under the B.C. College of Pharmacy’s new ethics code, they cannot be forced to prescribe for abortions, euthanasia, or artificial contraception.

Cristina Alarcon, a Vancouver-area community pharmacist who was a driving force behind the new code, says it “covers everything.” For the first time, pharmacists can refuse to dispense any prescription that violates their conscience. [Full text]


O Canada, Glorious and Free!

Canadian Healthcare Network

Reproduced with permission

Cristina Alarcon

The wrath of the media has fallen upon a handful of doctors—most recently a female Calgary practitioner—for politely informing their patients (as per College requirements) that they will not prescribe the pill.

Nevermind that there is no lack of doctors or clinics within a short distance who will comply. Ah, the politics of birth control!

The most recent attack comes from a retired ob/gyn who appears to have forgotten the lyrics of our beloved anthem (See O Canada! We must stand on guard for women’s reproductive rights).

Where is the glorious and free?

Forgotten is the reality that we live in a pluralistic, democratic society, and that true Canadian liberalism disagrees with the dogmatic view that all must think alike.

To force a doctor to act against his conscience is to open wide the doors to state-controlled medicine

Should freedom of conscience and religious belief not be protected in a liberal democracy? Should a woman’s so-called reproductive rights trump the fundamental freedoms guaranteed by our Canadian Charter (see section 2 [a]).

As well stated by blogger Brian Lilly, only a revisionist such as Trudeau Jr. would twist the words of his own father to claim that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was meant to grant women abortion rights.

But no matter what your stance on abortion, there are certain rights without which society as we know it would cease to be.

Thus, the rights of freedom of conscience and religion are inalienable and universal.

They derive from the unique dignity of the human person and constitute the bedrock on which all other human rights rest—the foundation of every truly free society.

No need to remind ourselves that the suppression of these rights contributed to the most gruesome monstrosities ever carried out by otherwise good doctors under the Nazi regime.

To his credit, the ob/gyn who wrote the O Canada piece does defend the wearing of turbans and openness to diversity. He also wisely states that if one is moral, one does not deliberately harm.

But to harm the conscience of people by forcing them to participate in something they find deplorable, even if legal, is to break the very fabric of society.

It would force doctors to kill patients if that were legal; it would force them to prescribe the newest medical fad diet pills; it would force those who (for non-religious reasons) don’t believe in pumping women with exogenous hormones to do so, no matter what the known cancer and other health risks.

And to force a doctor to act against his conscience is to open wide the doors to state-controlled medicine, reducing the professional to a well-paid, educated puppet-on-a-string.

Cristina Alarcon is a Vancouver pharmacist and writer. She holds a master’s degree in bioethics.

Alberta pharmacist vindicated for pro-Life stand

Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Mike Mastromatteo

A Calgary pharmacist has reached an agreement with her employer and the Alberta College of Pharmacists that will allow her to refrain from providing customers with prescriptions designed to terminate unborn human life.

Maria Bizecki of the Co-op Pharmacy in Calgary became the subject of an internal review by the Alberta College of Pharmacists last year after she refused to dispense the so-called “morning-after” pill and other products to which she is morally opposed.[Full text]

B.C. Pharmacist representing “conscientious objectors” at AGM wins substantial support from colleagues

News Release

Concerned Pharmacists for  Conscience in BC

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

Pharmacy colleges quash conscientious objection


Greg J. Edwards

Pharmacists are critically thinking individuals who integrate their values into their work life-and they are not mere robots who are glorified order-takers for physicians. We should be promoting such thinking, not punishing it.–Nancy Metcalfe, pharmacist

Pharmacists are said to be the most trusted professionals in medicine; they’re conscientious; we rely on their discretion and their judgment; they have our confidence; we respect them; but do pharmacists respect themselves, let alone one another?

It’s a good question, because in Canada, pharmacists, unlike doctors, find that conscientious objection is a bitter pill for their professional licensing organizations to swallow.

The pharmacists’ governors pay lip service to a pharmacist’s right to refuse to dispense products, but, in fact, a customer’s convenience trumps a pharmacist’s freedoms of conscience and religion: pharmacists are free to object but in the end they must refer or otherwise help customers get the objectionable product. [Full text]