What would you do if one day you went into the Pharmacy and needed your medication? You would think in your head that you would get it with no problem. What would you do if the pharmacist, who was supposed to administer it, refused based on his religious beliefs? This sounds absurd and unbelievable but it’s a growing trend. Some states have begun to deliberate and enact conscience clauses that allow pharmacist and other medical providers to refuse to provide or cover medically necessary treatment based on the individual’s religious or moral beliefs. Conscience clauses first began to appear across the nation after the Supreme Court’s decision is 1973 legalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade. To date, the federal government has not passed legislation allowing pharmacist to refuse to dispense prescriptions based on religious beliefs; however forty-six states have used general conscience clause laws to justify passing various laws that exempt individuals from having to perform abortions and some of these laws are being expanded to include pharmacists. Abortion and contraceptives seem to be the main debate over conscience clauses. Currently the debate focuses on whether pharmacists should be allowed to refuse to dispense birth control and the Plan B, the morning after pill.
Despite public opinion in opposition of the conscience clause, state legislators have begun to give in to religious groups by introducing and passing such laws that allow religious exemptions. The passing of state conscience clauses threaten the entire public health and promotes the violation of our rights as Americans. I believe that this conscience clause also, violates any health care provider’s code of ethics. States should not pass conscience clauses. Instead states should pass laws that require healthcare providers to uphold their duty to the public.
My target audience of this proposal is those state legislatures who would even consider passing laws allowing pharmacists or any medical provider to refuse services based on religious beliefs. In my research I will show how the conscience clauses violate ones constitutional rights. I will also show how conscience clauses violate pharmacists own code of ethics.
My motivation for researching this particular topic was not just because it was an assignment, but because I feel very strongly about the subject. Being a mother of three girls, I would not want to see my daughters someday be refused the right to fill a prescription for birth control just because the pharmacist is against contraceptives and claims its against his/her religious beliefs. In my opinion, any heath care provider who chooses such a route should find