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Gregoire opposes potential rules allowing Plan B denials

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 16, 2010 at 11:48 am with 25 Comments »
July 16, 2010 11:50 am

Gov. Chris Gregoire says she opposes a regulation in the works allowing pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions, including Plan B emergency contraception.

The state Board of Pharmacy has signaled it plans to write such a policy, reversing an earlier rule supported by Gregoire that barred pharmacies from refusing to dispense legal drugs out of moral objections.

That restriction sparked a lawsuit by socially conservative pharmacists to keep the right to refuse women who want Plan B, a dispute the new rule would settle.

Gregoire said in a statement the board is wrong to open a new rulemaking process, saying the 2007 rule should stand. She said:

I am concerned that the Board appears to have a predetermined outcome in the new rulemaking process. I will not support a position that does not provide the same level of access, or better, than is currently offered. We cannot restrict access for patients. In rural parts of our state, eliminating access to medication could force people to drive miles to the next closest pharmacy, or simply force them to go without.

The stance also puts Gregoire at odds once again with Attorney General Rob McKenna‘s office, whose lawyers negotiated a pause in the pharmacists’ lawsuit on behalf of the board.

Leave a comment Comments → 25
  1. I’m embarrassed that Gregoire is governor of this great state. She has no shame.

  2. comment_tayter says:

    Thanks to the Governor of *all* the citizens of the State of Washington for making it clear that denying an individual a legal medication, based upon a personally-held religious tenet by a pharmacist, is not acceptable.

  3. save the world, abort a republican

  4. SandieMS says:

    If pharmacists don’t want to do their job and dispense a legally prescribed medication, maybe they should quit their jobs and become a janitor or something.

    Their job is to dispense medication, to provide medicines according to doctors’ orders as stated on the prescription form. Their job is NOT to push their religious or political beliefs on patients.

  5. tomwa007 says:

    I can’t believe it but Ms. Gregoire is doing the right thing for a change.

    Pharmacists, do you job and don’t preach from your overpriced podium, you are NOT a physician, do your job and fill prescriptions.

  6. Whatever1214 says:

    The Governor is correct on this one.

  7. AreYouHighOrWhat says:

    WOW! First time I’ve agreed with her in years, and yes, I voted for her twice. To the rest of the posters who are against this: I’m so sorry your hardcore beliefs make you feel entitled to start imposing your views onto everyone’s lifestyle. It’s too bad we can’t just deny these women plan b and tatoo a big scarlet letter “A” on their forehead so you all know who to turn your noses up at……but then of course I’d also want giant “F”‘s for “fundies” tatooed on those people so I’d know which of my neighbors were likely to trample my rights in the name of their cult/religion.

    Everyone thinks the PNW is soooooo progressive, I argue with my friends about it all the time, this is more proof that the Pat Robertson voters from 88 are still around pushing their agendas. I guess I’ll be politicizing my drug store shopping now since I won’t help any business that isn’t helping out the world in general and denying plan b isn’t going to help anyone.


    BMy mechanic’s job is to fix cars. Should it be a law that he needs to fix all makes or sells all tire brands?

  9. mojjonation says:

    You have got to be kidding if you think she actually cares about this issue. She is posturing for Murray. She is posturing because McKenna is on the other side of the coin. This is nothing more than a political stunt on her part to gain attention as she runs for another office in DC to get her name in the papers and on the TV.

    But yeah. Have to agree with everyone that a pharmacist is not a physician. So if at all possible, take your medicinal needs to another pharmacy if they wish to impose their religious and personal views on patients.

  10. The governor is correct. If a pharmacist does not want to sell this then perhaps their license should be revoked.

  11. If someone believes they are contributing to the taking of innocent life… why the uproar? There is allowance made for conscientious objectors in the military. What is the problem? This is not the Soviet Union. The individual still has a voice in America, and an allowance for conscience. Those who object to this allowance… is it that you have NO conscience and no convictions?

  12. People who want to be able to kill the unborn are in lock step with the governor on this. People who do not wish to kill the the unborn are against her. Maybe we need to look at this in a different way. When euthanasia becomes legal, those who want to kill the helpless will be for making the doctor terminate a life. Those who oppose euthanasia will be against it. This kind of law will never happen you say. Let’s look back in history a bit. Contraception was banned by every major religion in the world until the Lambreth Conference (Anglican) of 1930. Since then, every major religion except the Catholic Church readily accepts it as a “right” of women. Abortion was banned by every major religion of the world until Roe vs Wade. Since then, most major religions of the world accept it as a “right” of women. We are now quibbling about minor points of these rights. So, is euthanasia coming in the next years or decades? We don’t know but neither did the Nazis prior to and during World War II with there policies of Life Unworthy of Life. So, just as the Nazis did, so we too are headed in the same direction. We will eliminate those of society that we deem unworthy of life by not dirtying our hands but by making the medical profession do the job for us. After all, they are working in society to help society stay clean and healthy and who is there not to trust but your doctor, pharmacist and the nurses. Governor Gregoire, Dr Mengele would be so proud of you!

  13. comment_tayter says:

    It’s just astonishing…the same fundamentalists / religious fanatics who claim to care so much for the “unborn,” and who make comparisons to Nazis, are likely the same nitwits who, once an_ actual_ living, breathing human being is on the planet’ will turn their backs on the poor and indigent, denying them health care which they themselves enjoy.

    The day will come when they say: “Lord! Lord! and He will say: “I do not know you!”

  14. Boris_Barks says:

    Anyone who defines a human ovum, (possibly fertilized but most likely not) as “the unborn,” and “innocent life” is way too nutty to hold a responsible job like pharmacist. I’d like a pharmacist who believes in science to fill my prescriptions, thank you very much, not some crackpot with a weird agenda.

  15. DAKOTANATIVE says:

    The same idiots that kill kids with abortion are infavor of double murder if a pregnant woman is killed. Is it a life or not?

  16. comment_tayter says:

    @ Dakota Native:

    If the fetus is capable of life outside the womb, that is one level of development.

    An ovum, exposed to sperm, whether fertilized or not, is another.

  17. There’s a reason it’s called Plan B.

  18. TonyCrago says:

    Blah Blah Blah here we go again. The right wing nuts prove that they are “pro-life” except when they aren’t!

    It’s okay to execute someone.
    It’s okay to send people to die in a war started by AWOL Bush.
    It’s okay to kill people on the other side of that war.
    It’s okay to fight hard against health care for kids who may die without it.
    It’s okay to withhold medicare to elderly because the right doesn’t like “entitlement” programs

    But it’s NOT okay to let a woman take a pill to terminate a pregnancy she doesn’t want. You have to wonder if it hurts to be that stupid.

  19. I guess if you have nothing useful to say about the issue, you can just stand back and take a shotgun blast at all the problems you see and blame them. That would be the right wing religious fanatics and the like. I hate to tell you this, but this kind of rhetoric and blame was used by the Nazis to lock up and murder 6 million Jews and assorted other faiths, nationalities and political persuasions. The issue here is about pharmacists and whether or not they have a right to have a conscience or not. Our governor says no, they are not allowed to by law. This is no different than the Nazis Life Unworthy of Life policies. The state has determined that the unborn have no rights just as they determined that blacks were not people over 200 years ago. Back then, some people relied on their conscience to fight this wrong and sadly enough, some are still fighting this battle today. This is an issue of The State vs the human conscience. I read that some do not want these “religious fanatics” pushing their brand of religion in your face. I agree with that statement; don’t push your agenda in my face. Since you say, why do you not live it? The pharmacists aren’t pushing the agenda, you are by trying to make them go against their conscience and you are doing so by legislation. All the pharmacist wants is to have the option of not participating in your agenda. Why do you not allow them the right to exercise their conscience? Why are you trying to force them to commit murder? The law is on the books saying this pill must be made available. It is; the pill is available. It seems though that the availability of the pill is not good enough for you or our governor. What you really want is to force every pharmacist to comply with your agenda. As for me, I prefer a pharmacist or any other health care professional to have a conscience. I seem to have a bit more trust and faith in them. With the number of pharmacies I pass by every day on my way to work, I am certain I could find one that would supply me with my prescription.

  20. TonyCrago says:

    @ dwvince says: I prefer a pharmacist or any other health care professional to have a conscience.

    Really? Really? Are you sure? I bet money you’re full of bull shitake. If the health care professional thinks an abortion is the right thing to do you telling me you’re okay with that? You right wingers are always full of self-declared wisdom. The only problem is, YOU don’t even believe the crap you spew. You would want a health care with a conscience as long as he or she agreed with you is what you meant to say.

    Not one right winger – no not one – has ever been able to justify to me the hypocritical stance that says we care about life but only if it’s unborn. Once you escape the womb the Hell with you. Drown in your own feces; die of Aids, whatever your fate it’s no concern of ours.

    H Y P O C R I T E S!

  21. Tony, you’re really grasping at it now. What I said is that I want a health care professional with a conscience. That means he lives and does as he believes as long as it is within the law. If he believes in abortion, he does not answer to me. He’ll answer to God for that. But if he does believe in the right for a woman to have an abortion and, assuming he is accredited, he performs one then he follows his conscience. I have a problem with what action he takes (the abortion) but, not with why he did it (his conscience). Once again, the shotgun comes out with a blast at the ills of society. Why can’t you stay focused on the subject of legislating conscience? That is what this whole issue is about. I have referred to Nazi policies because legislating conscience is what some of their laws were about. This is no different. Our governor wants to take the conscience away from the pharmacist by saying that in order to be a pharmacist, you must kill the unborn. Why does it have to be so? Why can’t they say I want to be a pharmacist and not participate in your wanton desire to murder? If you don’t believe it is murder, then prescribe the pill. It’s as simple as that. As I said before, these pharmacists are not saying that no pharmacist can do it. What they are saying is that it is wrong to make all pharmacists do it. Why do you insist on making them follow your agenda? Who is doing the pushing here? It is certainly not the pharmacists; they’re resisting!

  22. siragwatkins says:

    I’m with those who say a pharmacist’s job is to fill prescriptions in accord with doctors’ orders.
    If they can’t or don’t want to do that, they need a new career.

    What if this hooha had been started because of a pharmacist who didn’t believe in vaccination against childhood diseases? Would we be hearing about his or her right to make these decisions for other people’s children? I don’t think so!

  23. A pharmacist is not a doctor and as such does not diagnose problems based on what is prescribed. That would be worse than reverse engineering. A pharmacist can make a very good educated guess at what is being treated but it would only be a guess. I think a better point would be a pharmacist that would refuse to fill a prescription because of his disagreement on the medicine itself. This issue has in fact come up with the Governor of Texas requiring vaccination for cervical cancer for young girls. Much of the resistance came from parents and some came from pharmacists and doctors. I didn’t follow the case closely because it required a vaccination for the prevention of a disease. Most schools also require a list of health issues that must have medicines or vaccinations administered before the child can attend school. So, I do agree with you that a pharmacist who would either make a diagnoses or who has issues prescribing medicines and vaccines that would prevent an illness or cure an illness should pack up his bags and go elsewhere. However, a child (life at conception) is not a disease or an illness. To these pharmacists, this is a human life and to prescribe the pill would be tantamount to murder. To his pharmacist, the governor wants to legislate his conscience and make him kill another human being. To the pharmacist who does not believe in life at conception, the governor is just creating paperwork that agrees with his conscience so it doesn’t matter one way or the other. The governor wants the law only for those who believe in life at conception. That would be legislating their conscience. I might add here a small step away from the Plan B pill and ask another question. Should a pharmacist prescribe medicine to someone who wants to take their own life? Assisted suicide is legal in this state and, assuming all conditions are met and a doctor writes the prescription, should they be required to fill the prescription?

  24. dwvince,

    Yes they should, you finally got it right. Fact is pharmacists are licensed by the state to dispense medications. They are not forced into becoming a pharmacist, it is their choice. I don’t care one whit what their personal beliefs are, their JOB is to provide legally prescribed medications.

    dwvince, I get the impression if someone died because a pharmacist chose to withhold medicine due to their ‘conscience” you’d be just fine with that.

  25. Actually, you are incorrect. If a pharmacist filled a prescription and left out some part of it intentionally because of conscience and said nothing I would support a loss of license for life and some jail time whether it hurt someone or not. Healthcare professionals garner our trust by virtue of being a healthcare professional and a violation of that trust warrants severe penalties. But again, we are talking about a conscience clause which is regulated by the law itself. I took the liberty of copying the following three items from Wikipedia. 1) “Conscience clauses are clauses in laws in some parts of the United States which permit pharmacists, physicians, and other providers of health care not to provide certain medical services for reasons of religion or conscience. Those who choose not to provide services may not be disciplined or discriminated against. The provision is most frequently enacted in connection with issues relating to reproduction, such as abortion, sterilization, and contraception, (hence the term provider conscience is used) but may include any phase of patient care.” So, this is not precedent setting. It is and has been written into the books before. 2) “Conscience clauses have been adopted by a number of U.S. states including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.” That’s 14 states that have it in state laws now. There may be more depending on when Wikipedia was last updated but it doesn’t matter. The point is at least 28% of the states now have the conscience clause on their books. 3) “Some pharmacies in U.S. jurisdictions with conscience clauses, including CVS and Target, allow pharmacists to choose, without penalty, not to dispense birth control pills. Target requires the objecting pharmacist to recommend another Target location that will dispense the medication.” I could not tell you if “corporate policy” means in every store in the country or in some form in the states that do not have the conscience clause. I read it as every store but again, I don’t know. The conscience clause is all these pharmacists want. If 28% of the states and “some” business utilize it, why not here also. This clause hurts no one because I dare say there are many more pharmacists who will fill a prescription without giving the clause much thought if any. But I must ask again. Why do you want to force people to kill either the unborn or the infirm? And please don’t say it is their job. They are pharmacists not executioners and most became pharmacists before Plan B or assisted suicide were thought of.

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