Letters to the Editor

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PLAN B: A simple solution

Letter by Dan L. Rathbun, Tacoma on Feb. 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm with 21 Comments »
February 28, 2012 12:30 pm

Sometimes the simplest answer to a problem is also the correct one. Washington licenses pharmacists to operate here. If your beliefs do not allow you to fulfill the duties of a pharmacist, no license can be issued.

The result is no government sanction of religion and no violation of a pharmacist’s oath and duties. Or you could move to a state that mixes religion and government for its citizens. We should not allow that in Washington.

Leave a comment Comments → 21
  1. BlaineCGarver says:

    What a load of poop.

  2. Theefrinker says:

    I agree with your letter. It was also cool that you kept the “simple solution” letter simple. I’ve never understood why people of religion take medicine anyway; isn’t that what all the praying is for?

  3. Blaine, what do you disagree with? Dan’s letter was extremely clear and concise. If you want to become a pharmacist or own a pharmacy, you must obey the requirements for receiving and maintaining a license. There is no room for using your personal opinions or issues of morality when it comes to the lives of anyone other than yourself. There are plenty of other professions to choose from that don’t involve preventing individuals access to the medicines they require. If a pharmacy decides that it is ‘immoral’ to provide a certain type of contraceptive, what’s to stop them from refusing to dispense other medicines that they don’t approve of? What if this pharmacy is the only one in a small town and a young, responsible couple had a condom break and so they go to the pharmacy to pick up an emergency contraceptive but the pharmacist refuses?

  4. amber424 says:

    Great letter! Short, clear and (in my opinion) correct!

  5. alindasue says:

    tburki said, “What if this pharmacy is the only one in a small town and a young, responsible couple had a condom break and so they go to the pharmacy to pick up an emergency contraceptive but the pharmacist refuses?”

    If the local pharmacy didn’t have it in stock (for whatever reason), then they would go to the next town to buy it or order it through some place like Amazon. With expedited shipping, it could be on the door-step well within the three day threshold for effectiveness.

    Besides, if they were truly a “responsible” young couple, they would not be relying on his condom alone for birth control. A condom without her also using spermicide is only 60% effective. However, her using spermicide alone is also just as effective as him using the condom alone. Aside from increasing the effectiveness of the condom, it also makes a good back-up if the condom tears – eliminating any “the condom tore” panic.

    Even taking Plan B out of the picture, not all pharmacies carry all drugs. It’s just not practical to do so. Sometimes they have to special order products for you or refer you to a pharmacy that does carry the medication you want in stock.

    Last time I had a dental problem, I had the anti-biotic prescription filled at the pharmacy near the dentist’s office, but had to go to another pharmacy for the pain medication. Closing that one pharmacy down (by refusing its pharmacist a license) just because they refused to carry narcotic pain medications in stock would be silly. Closing a pharmacy down just because it refuses to sell Plan B would be just as silly.

  6. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    Yeah, great idea. Let’s just suspend the First and Fourteenth Amendments, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act… but just for this one instance.

    Genius.

  7. alindasue – you are always the voice of reason, but I must contest.

    Where is the line drawn as to what medication or product that a trusted vendor to the community can refuse to provide? I find it sad that a pharmacy would refuse to sell a narcotic, one of the oldest and most profitable drugs on their shelf.

    When a patient is in severe pain, they don’t need excuses, they need help. The subsequent pain can cause serious spikes in blood pressure that can result in heart attack and stroke. I had a pain session where I hit 174/108 and it took 3 morphine injections at the hospital (I was transported for safety) to get the pain under control. Very real stuff.

    Pharmacists assume a responsibility when they choose their profession, just like a doctor, nurse, fire fighter, police officer, etc. There needs to be a standard set.

  8. VoxK – what is the next LIBERAL interpretation of the 1st and 14th?

    You can call me “Larry”.

  9. itwasntmethistime says:

    I have yet to find a store that carries every variation of every product. If your favorite pharmacy doesn’t carry your favorite prescription go to a different pharmacy.

  10. Larry – What is Santorum’s view of the 1st Amendment’s Separation of Church and State clause?

  11. alindasue says:

    ImLarry said, “Where is the line drawn as to what medication or product that a trusted vendor to the community can refuse to provide? I find it sad that a pharmacy would refuse to sell a narcotic, one of the oldest and most profitable drugs on their shelf.”

    Yes, there is a long and very profitable history of selling narcotic pain medication. However, at least three pharmacies and two medical clinics that I know of now refuse to dispense such drugs.

    The signs at the Community Health Care medical clinic I go to state that the narcotic pain medications are addictive and ultimately cause the body to be more sensitive to pain than normal, so they cannot in good conscience continue to prescribe or dispense them to their patients.

    So I guess the line is drawn when a vendor can not in good conscience dispense the product. It doesn’t have to necessarily be for religious reasons.

  12. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    “Larry” LMAO, finally an element of truth from Mr martini music. Congratulations, I love it! Please stick with this new/ old moniker, it fits you like a flat cap. Your constant screen name changes have become the definition of cliché while fooling only the most feeble among us, so give it a rest. I’m sure TNT bans will run their course for you anyway.

    VoxK – what is the next LIBERAL interpretation of the 1st and 14th?

    Funny you should mention “liberal”, “1st” and “14th Amendment” in the same sentence. From the moment a child of liberal parents is fortunate enough to be thrust, alive, from his/ her mother’s womb, that child is taught to worship the 1st and 14th. What a shock it must be to liberals like Larry, to realize they apply to ALL Americans – even those with religious conscience.

  13. If my employer requires me to do something that I find morally repugnant I can either perform the duties required or resign – why should drug dispensers be given special consideration?

  14. beerBoy, No problem with your comment. If an employee, does not want to do something morally or religiously at odds with his/her beliefs then that employee can quit and work somewhere else. Good enough.

    BUT, on the other threads relating to this same issue we were also discussing owners of Ralph’s Thriftway who did not want to carry the product itself. Surely, the owner of a company has a right to decided what to stock and what NOT to stock on the shelves of his/her pharmacy, as long as there is no law stating that he or she is required to stock certain products, right?

    Does the state’s licensing of a pharmacy require that all licensed pharmacies stock specific products? If not, then where is the authority to require Ralph’s, or any other business, to carry specific products?

  15. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    If my employer requires me to do something that I find morally repugnant I can either perform the duties required or resign – why should drug dispensers be given special consideration?

    Another specious argument.

    First of all, it’s not the “employer” who is telling these pharmacists what they must dispense – it’s the state!

    As I recall, you are a college instructor in Idaho, right? So, lets set aside the unconstitutional aspect of the question for a second and take this hypothetical; the state of Idaho, in their eminent wisdom, passes a law requiring all college instructors to vote Republican. This being anathematic to you, you decide to quit and seek employment in your field at another fine college or university in Idaho.

    Just one problem… and if you can guess what it is, you’re onto the crux of the constitutional questions regarding Freedom of Religion and Equal Protection, not to mention anti-discrimination laws of the Civil Rights act of 1964, and how the foregoing come to bear directly on this case.

    Good luck, bB!

  16. Vox – if I knew my Pharmacy was refusing to sell Plan B, I would vote with my wallet and take my business elsewhere – and encourage others to join me.

  17. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    So you agree, the free market is wonderful – unconstitutional mandates… not so much.

  18. The free market is a myth that only exists in the minds of the idolators of the Church of the Invisible Hand.

    The regulations that we are speaking of have not been ruled upon by the Supreme Court so your supposition that it is unconstitutional is a supposition by an ideologue with no real training in Constitutional Law (unlike the President and his advisors).

  19. Correction – the WA SC has ruled the regulation to be unconstitutional. There are so many interrelated issues going on about women’s reproduction (hmmmmm…..must by an election year!) I sometimes get confused on exactly which topic I am commenting upon.

  20. beerBoy, you almost got it right, but not quite. The judge did not rule that the regulations were unconstitutional, but just that they were misapplied in the case of Ralph’s. A Federal court found the appliation of the regulation unconstitutional, not the Washington SC.

    A panel of the 9th Appeals had sent it back to this judge for reconsideration saying he made errors in his first decision in his application of certain principles to this case.

    The judge reconsidered and said, “No, I didn’t make any errors.”
    So his ruling stands in this one case, not for all pharmacies, until(and if) it is appealed back to the 9th Circuit for appeals.

  21. Vox_clamantis_in_deserto says:

    For a second time he has decided Washington State’s rules requiring pharmacies to stock and sell “Plan B” and other so-called “morning after” contraceptives, even if store owners or pharmacists believe selling those products violates their religious beliefs, are unconstitutional.

    http://www.king5.com/news/Judge-to-rule-if-state-can-require-pharmacists-to-supply-Plan-B-contraceptive-139942693.html

    Geez, give it up already, losers.

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