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There was an interesting story on NewsHour tonight about pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions they don't like.

Mostly, this is about RU-486, the "morning after" pill. But it's also about, for some pharmacists, any birth control pill. The pharmacists don't like it, so they don't offer it, and don't fill prescriptions for it.

This angers a lot of people. But it doesn't matter how angry you are. You're wrong. The pharmacist gets to make that decision, period. End of story. No matter what you say.

The arguments -- none of which am I making up or exaggerating, all coming from the story -- are all irrelevant.

  • This is taking my right away.
    No, it isn't. Not in the least, tiniest, bit. In sane countries, your right to get something does not obligate someone else to provide it to you.

  • This is an organized attack on birth control, and the right of women to make their own decisions.
    So what, even if true? I can write letters to the editor attacking those same things, should I have my ability to write those letters taken away, too?

  • It makes it harder to get health care.
    So what? The pharmacist has no legal obligation to make your life convenient.

  • It denies access to health care.
    No, it doesn't. It might make it harder to get, but see the above point.

  • It endangers women's health.
    Potentially, I suppose, but so do many things. All that means, anyway, is that it is incumbent upon you to find out beforehand how you are going to get the drugs you might need. It's called being a responsible adult.

  • It's stupid.
    Yeah, well, people have the right to do stupid things. Like have abortions.

  • The pill doesn't actually cause an abortion.
    I can refuse to sell something for any reason I want. Maybe I only sell yellow pills (it's my favorite color), or pills that don't give people gas (farting makes me sad), or pills that don't in any way influence the mind (as L. Ron and Tom would order all Scientologist pharamcists). It doesn't matter what the reason is.

  • There's no good way to decide whose morals we go by.
    Yes, there is: the pharmacist's (or his boss).

  • This is one religion inflicting their beliefs on others.
    No moreso than a Kosher deli not selling pork is them inflicting their beliefs on me.

It's their business. It's their choice (something pro-choice advocates should be more than passingly familiar with). They have no obligation, period, to provide any product they don't wish to provide.

The dumb thing is that it is easy to get access to these drugs. Oral contraception can be gotten at many pharmacies; if you are a rare person for whom there is none in your area that provides it, then get it online (gasp!) or from your doctor. For "emergency" contraception, your doctor can keep some on hand. This is a solved problem, and we don't need to infringe on the rights of pharmacists to solve it.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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