Pharmacies cannot be allowed to refuse sale of contraceptives

An increasing number of pharmacists are refusing to sell contraceptives based on “morality” concerns. After the recent report that teen pregnancies are at a new low, this is a concerning trend that could undermine years of sex education. It may also raise infection rates for HIV/AIDS as condoms are withheld from potential customers.

The Washington Post quoted Steven Aden of the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom speaking on such pharmacists behalf: “More and more pharmacists are becoming aware of their right to conscientiously refuse to pass objectionable medications across the counter.”

We are talking about condoms here, not crack.

If millennia of human history have taught us anything, it is that humans will have sex. The continued existence of the human race itself is proof enough for this. By withholding contraceptives, pharmacists are not stopping individuals from having sexual relations, they are encouraging individuals to engage in unprotected intercourse.

Abstinence is often raised as an “alternative” to contraceptives. But recent studies have proven that teaching “abstinence only,” without also addressing other methods and uses of contraceptives, doe snot work. Teenagers are actually more likely to have sex if they are exclusively taught abstinence.

The Post also reported cases of a pharmacy refusing to file a prescription for a “morning after pill,” requested after a condom used by a married couple broke.

Such tactics are simply unacceptable, if not illegal. If pharmacists start meddling in the personal dealings of their customers — refusing to file or to refer customers to other pharmacies — where will it stop?

The pharmacists claim they do so because they are “pro-life.” But withholding time-sensitive medication, as was the case with the morning after pill, does not help create the loving families such pharmacists claim to want. Rather, it will result in unplanned pregnancies.

Pharmacists have to understand that whatever their personal beliefs are, they have no right to push them onto their customers. This creed comes along with the trust customers place in their pharmacists when they walk in the door.