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Pro-Life Pharmacists Under Attack in Wisconsin

Bill forcing pharmacists to dispense abortifacient drugs to receive public hearing


Contact: Matt Sande, Director of Legislation, 262-352-0890; Virginia Zignego, Communications Director, 262-796-1111


MEDIA ADVISORY, March 4 /Christian Newswire/ -- The Senate health committee will hold a public hearing Wednesday, March 5, on Senate Bill (SB) 232, the so-called "Birth Control Protection Act." The legislation would force all licensed Wisconsin pharmacists, regardless of their medical and moral judgment, to dispense the morning-after pill and other FDA-approved abortifacient contraceptive drugs. The legislation also redefines the statutory definition of abortion to exclude all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs and devices. Violators would be subject to current law standard of practice penalties ranging from forfeitures to license revocation. Pro-Life Wisconsin strongly opposes SB 232 and will publicly testify against the bill.


"This bill is not about access to birth control at all," said Peggy Hamill, state director of Pro-Life Wisconsin. "Birth control is everywhere – even the morning-after pill is now accessible over the counter for those aged 18 and over. What this bill is really about is forcing pro-life pharmacists to cast aside any moral or medical qualms about birth control and do the bidding of the birth control industry."


It is a medical fact that the morning-after pill (a high dosage of the birth control pill) and most, if not all, birth control drugs and devices including the intrauterine device (IUD), Depo Provera, Norplant, the Patch, and the Pill can act to terminate a pregnancy by chemically altering the lining of the uterus (endometrium) so that a newly conceived child is unable to implant in the womb, thus starving and dying. This mechanism of action is termed a pre-implantation chemical abortion. One need only explore the websites of individual abortifacient brand-name drugs to verify their abortion causing effect.  


"Excluding the morning-after pill and other abortion-causing birth control drugs from the legal definition of abortion does not change the fact that they can and do cause early chemical abortions," said Hamill. "Simply wishing something to be true does not make it so."


The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to freely exercise one's religious convictions. The Wisconsin Constitution expressly protects the rights of conscience. Under Article 1, Section 18, of our state constitution, "any control of, or interference with, the rights of conscience" shall not be permitted.


"Respect for individual conscience rights is a bedrock American principle," said Matt Sande, Pro-Life Wisconsin's legislative director. "We don't force people to take up arms who conscientiously oppose war. Why then would we force pharmacists to participate in the killing of preborn children? Whether or not legislators agree or disagree with specific moral objections, their sworn oaths to the state and federal constitutions command them to respect and protect them. They can't pick and choose which conscience rights to protect or reject."


Conscientious pharmacists exercise their refusal to dispense birth control in a peaceful, non-judgmental and professional manner. They often have accommodations in place with their employers so that customers can access contraceptives from other pharmacists on staff or, if no other pharmacist is available, from other nearby pharmacies.  


"Senate Bill 232 would completely abrogate any and all good-faith accommodations between pharmacists of conscience and their employers," said Sande. "Pharmacists, like doctors and nurses, are valued members of the professional health care team who should not be forced to choose between their consciences and their livelihoods. No pharmacist should have to daily check his or her conscience at the door. Just as a woman's legal right to a surgical abortion does not compel a hospital to provide one, a woman's legal right to abortifacient drugs and devices should not compel a pharmacist to dispense them," said Sande.


According to Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life International (PFLI), pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control to their female customers do so out of concern for the health of their female patients. "There are countless deaths of women from the birth control pill because it causes blood clots," said Brauer, explaining that many pharmacists' opposition to the pill and morning-after pill is based on both professional and moral concerns.  


Warning that pharmacists would exit the profession if similar federal legislation were to be enacted, Brauer said, "There will be no more pharmacists. We are smart and we can get other jobs. The biggest victims are the patients who will be losing pharmacy services."


The public hearing will take place in Room 411 South of the state capitol building at 10:00 a.m.