Endometriosis ~ Abdominal Pain ~ Endo ~ Scar Tissue ~ Adhesions ~ Infertility ~ Hysterectomy

Sunday, December 30, 2007

S.B. 1555 and H.R. 2596, also called the Access to Birth Control Act

Well these folks must not be very good at their jobs if they do not dispense doctor prescribed medicine That Help People in Pain!

It's discriminatory to withhold services as a pharmacist to customers.
Is your excuse freedom of religion?

Get another job bucko as you have no idea the pain and sickness you cause by denying the medicines woman's doctors prescribe.

It seems rather discriminatory an action a person could perpetrate!

What if the woman is post hysterectomy but still needs certain medicine? Denied?

What if getting pregnant would cost a woman their life?

Emergency contraception for victims of rape?

Would these pharmacists put their money where their mouth are and adopt an unwanted child? They care so much for life after all but I doubt this would be the case.

It seems totally hypocritical and anther way to suppress women and deny their needs under the guise of religious belief!

Catch 22 and women lose again....and why is it always seem to be male in these stories????.

Druggist's decision carries consequences for small town By The Associated Press 12.24.07
RAPID CITY, S.D. — Pharmacist John Lane believes he has a responsibility to serve humankind through his profession.
Lane, who converted to Catholicism 10 years ago, also believes the "humankind" he pledged to protect includes fertilized eggs that, because of oral contraceptives, are not able to implant in a woman's uterus and grow into a baby.
There's more to it than that. But faith is clearly a big reason that, come Jan. 1, Lane will no longer dispense birth-control pills to his customers in Powder River County, Mont.
That decision wouldn't have much effect if Lane worked in Rapid City or surrounding towns, where dozens of other pharmacists and pharmacies are available and willing to fill prescriptions for birth control. But in a town of 450 people, Lane's decision will force customers to either get oral contraceptives by mail order or drive 80 miles to the nearest pharmacy.
Women who meet low-income requirements will still be able to get birth-control pills through the public-health nurse.
Many people have been angered by Lane's decision, which he announced Oct. 25 in a full-page ad in the Powder River Examiner. Many others have commended him for it.
Some, including health-care providers, say they like Lane and respect his religious beliefs but are concerned about how those beliefs will affect patients.
"It's a service that is taken away from women in general," said Jaci Phillips, Powder River Public Health nurse. "That's what concerns me."
Contraceptives may be available by mail, but that isn't the point, she said.
"I feel it should be basic health care for anyone to get any kind of prescription that a doctor provides for them," she said. "I just don't know how fair it is to pick and choose."
She's quick to emphasize that she has nothing against Lane.
"John's a great person," she said. "But if we're in health care, we've got to serve people."
Physician assistant LeRoy Biesheuvel shares Phillips' concerns.
"I am sad that he's not going to dispense (birth-control pills) anymore," said Biesheuvel, who has cared for Broadus residents for more than 20 years. "I respect his beliefs, but I think it's going to cause a little hardship on a few people in the community. I would rather have them available."
Lane believes a little inconvenience shouldn't outweigh his ability to work and provide for his family — he and his wife, Amy, have six children ranging in age from 5 months to 9 years — while living out the convictions of his faith.
"There are options for people who live here," he said.
Biesheuvel, Phillips and others are working on ways to keep oral contraceptives readily available to local residents and others who live in the county of 1,800 people.
A moral dilemmaLane grew up in Eagle Butte and graduated from the University of Montana in 1996. He worked in Nevada before moving to Broadus in 1998.
Broadus residents were happy to see him. The local drug store closed in the mid-1990s. It was replaced by a new pharmacy in Larry's IGA, the town's only grocery store.
"We were without a pharmacist for a while, and it's really difficult to get a pharmacist to come into a small place like this," said Biesheuvel, who noted that Lane sometimes goes in late at night to fill emergency prescriptions.
But over time, Lane has grown more uncomfortable with dispensing birth-control pills. Like many Catholics and conservative Christians, he believes human life begins at conception. He said women using the pill can still ovulate occasionally, meaning sex can result in a fertilized egg.
Because the pill also prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, a fertilized egg — in Lane's eyes, a human being — may then pass out of the woman's body unnoticed.
"In the pledge I took when I became a pharmacist, I said, 'I vow to devote my professional life to the services of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy,'" Lane stated in his newspaper ad. "I am now unable to conclude that humankind begins at any other point besides conception."
The decision to stop dispensing birth control didn't come easily. Lane sought spiritual guidance, asking the diocesan administrator, the Very Rev. Jay H. Peterson, if he should view his responsibility to a geographically isolated community and to patients' easy access to medication as his moral obligation.
"The simple answer came back as 'no,' " Lane wrote in a letter to the Montana Pharmacy Association in which he called for a state law protecting the religious freedom of medical providers. "People's convenience does not trump moral obligation, and furthermore, he went on to say that it was in my spiritual best interest to conform my professional practice to the precepts of the church."
Pope Benedict XVI himself weighed in Oct. 29, telling the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists that they needed to raise public awareness "in order that all human beings are protected from conception to natural death."
Lane agrees that public awareness is important. The issue is bigger than one religion, he said. "I think that anybody who would naturally think of themselves as pro-life should really consider that issue more deeply."
Now what?
Meanwhile, women in Powder River County who take birth-control pills are left to consider the issue of how to get their medication.
Lane said he announced the policy change in October so women would have time to find alternate sources. He offered to help transfer prescriptions and gave information on pharmacies that would mail prescriptions. He gave the phone number of the county health office's family-planning program.
He also provided the Web sites and phone numbers for three organizations that promote natural family planning.
In his ad, Lane also apologized for inconveniencing his customers. He acknowledged that not every woman takes oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy. Birth-control pills are also prescribed to treat endometriosis, acne, pre-menstrual syndrome and other conditions.
"For this reason, I must doubly apologize to those whom I will no longer be able to serve by this decision," he wrote.
Still, he stands by the fact that oral contraceptives are readily available by mail with a prescription.
And as others point out, mail-order pharmacies are becoming more and more common.
"There are numerous health plans that require a mail-order pharmacy (for maintenance drugs)," Ron Huether, executive secretary of the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy, said. "Other people don't seem to mind that at all."
A political stance There is another reason Lane decided to stop dispensing birth-control pills.
Three states — California, Illinois and New Jersey — require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives. Other states, including South Dakota, have "conscience clauses" that protect pharmacists who choose not to fill certain prescriptions.
Montana law doesn't address the issue. Lane expects state legislators to consider it, possibly during the next legislative session, partly because a Great Falls, Mont., pharmacy announced earlier this year that its pharmacists would no longer dispense oral contraceptives.
"I thought it would be important to have more voices on this issue," Lane said. "Otherwise, the one example is going to be written off as sort of a fluke and not taken seriously when they're considering this issue."
Lane fears that requiring pharmacists to dispense drugs that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs could lead to similar laws that would require doctors to perform abortions, vasectomies and other procedures.
A bill currently before the U.S. Congress — S.B. 1555 and H.R. 2596, also called the Access to Birth Control Act — would impose fines of up to $5,000 per day of violation for pharmacists who refuse to fill legal prescriptions for birth-control pills.
"I would hate for these things to get decided without there being a conservative voice on the issue," Lane said.
But others fear that allowing pharmacists to pick and choose which drugs they will dispense sets a dangerous precedent.
"Who decides what is next?" Jaci Phillips asks. If a person believes AIDS or other illness is a punishment from God, she asks, would they be allowed to withhold other medications?
"If they want to be serious about life in general, protecting life, then they probably have to think about every medication that goes out," Phillips said, noting that many types of drugs can have disastrous effects on a fertilized egg.
"I've often wondered if this affected men as greatly as women and young women, would there be any question whether this would be dispensed?" she asked. "(Women) have a right to decide what to do with their lives and their bodies."
Mixed reactionsSnyder Drug in Great Falls, Mont., is owned and operated by Stuart and Kyla Anderson and Kurt and Kori Depner, all pharmacists and all Catholic. Their announcement last June that their store would no longer sell oral contraceptives brought criticism from abortion-rights groups, including Planned Parenthood, and became a topic on numerous blogs.
Staff at the Great Falls Tribune said letters to the editor were divided, some in support and some opposed.
In Broadus, letters have also run about 50-50 for and against the policy change, said Joe Stuver, who serves as editor, publisher and ad manager for the Powder River Examiner.
"(John) is really a good guy, and that's what makes it hard," he said. "It wasn't something that came easy to him."
Phillips received a number of calls, nearly all of them from people angry about the news.
Lane says he has received far more compliments than complaints.
"I was expecting more of a backlash," he said.
Larry's IGA, the grocery store that houses the pharmacy, did get angry calls from customers saying they would no longer shop at the store. But they, too, received compliments. So far, sales haven't been affected, said store manager Mark Wenzel.
Still, some worry that if people drive 80 miles to the closest pharmacy, they might decide to buy their groceries and other goods there, too.
"I would have never before this encouraged people to go to mail-order pharmacists because I think we need to support our hometown pharmacist," Phillips said. "We need to keep those services local, and I just hate to lose anything that's local."
"This is a tough issue," Wenzel agreed. "It's one of the toughest things I've ever gone through."
Planning for the futureWith little time left before the pharmacy's new policy change takes effect, Wenzel, Larry's IGA owner Larry Woolston, Biesheuvel, Phillips, Lane and others are exploring other ways to continue providing oral contraceptives locally.
One idea is to bring in a pharmacist once or twice a month who would fill birth-control prescriptions. Another is to get permission from the Montana State Board of Pharmacy for Biesheuvel to dispense oral contraceptives from Powder River Medical Clinic, where he works.
"It's illegal for me to dispense prescriptions from the clinic because there's an operating pharmacy within five miles," Biesheuvel explained. "But if this drug is not available through the local pharmacy, if we can get permission from the state, that might be a possibility."
In terms of the future, state legislators are almost certain to discuss the issue at some point. Those who believe pharmacists should be able to decide whether to dispense birth control and those who believe they should be required to do so say they want legislators to come up with a clear policy on the matter.
And while health-care providers in isolated areas would like to ensure that women have ready access to oral contraceptives, they also realize what could hang in the balance.
As Lane noted in his letter to the Montana Pharmacy Association, if the state adopts laws that override a medical provider's "moral conscience," ''then some places, like Broadus, may no longer have pharmacy service at all."
That's a scenario no one wants, those involved with the issue say.

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