Proposed Bill Would Require Pharmacists To Dispense Contraceptives, Despite Personal Objections
Assembly member Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) has proposed a bill that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraceptives, "even when it goes against their religious or moral beliefs," the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The issue has become "increasingly controversial" nationwide, as about a dozen states, mostly in the South and Midwest, have passed laws protecting pharmacists who refuse to dispense some contraceptives, according to the Daily News.
Levine said he would prefer to address the issue before the debate intensifies in California. His bill, which is still in preliminary form, would not penalize pharmacists who refuse to sell contraceptives.
Levine said, "A pharmacist's job is to fill the prescription that a doctor prescribes for a patient," adding, "The relationship is between the doctor and patient, not the pharmacist and patient. If we allow them to decide which prescriptions to fill and not to fill, it creates a whole lot of problems."
Karen Brauer -- president of Pharmacists for Life International, which opposes contraceptives -- said, "California will get the pharmacist shortage it deserves if you all pass that bill. Because if you want to take away the pharmacist's dispensing authority -- the pharmacist's ability to make clinical decisions -- you won't need any pharmacists out there."
Assembly Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said, "Now the state government is going to start dictating what we have in pharmacies? I don't think we're the best to do that." He added, "I think the consumer and the free market have determined what sells inside a business. I'm not telling pharmacies what they have to sell" (Sheppard, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/1).