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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weighing conscience versus convenience, core American values versus shopping

In a USA Today analysis of pending Oregon legislation, Tom Krattenmaker wrongly equates rather than contrasts conscientiously objecting pharmacists with parents who refuse lifesaving medical care for their children.
The contrast couldn't be clearer. Pharmacists who decline to dispense controversial and potentially abortifacient drugs like EllaOne and Plan B, which the FDA warns can cause the death of a living human embryo,[i],[ii] do so to save human lives. Those who would mandate pro-life pharmacists' participation in chemical abortions regardless of conscience are mandating the professional violation of the life-honoring Hippocratic oath that has guided medicine and protected patients for millennia.
Granted, preserving freedom of religion and conscience often requires consideration of consequences. The actions of the conscientious pharmacist may occasionally result in a temporary inconvenience for a shopper who can simply purchase the drug from another pharmacist. That's hardly the level of consequence that would justify a wholesale denial of conscience rights to citizens of a nation founded in large part to secure religious liberty and freedom of conscience.
If Oregon wants to address an abuse of freedom that yields deadly consequences, it can start by overturning its secretive and scandalous assisted suicide law, which places elderly, depressed and handicapped patients at risk by giving HMO's and the government a cheap and deadly alternative to compassionate care.

[ii] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022474s000lbl.pdf

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