Bills Let Pharmacists Refuse Birth Control Prescriptions

A growing number of states are considering laws that allow pharmacists to deny birth control prescriptions based on their religious objections.

In early November, USA Today reported that several states are moving to permit pharmacists who cite moral qualms about certain drugs or medical procedures to refuse to fill prescriptions for patients.

The newspaper noted that Mississippi enacted a law that allows health care providers, including pharmacists, to refuse to provide medical services that offend their religious beliefs. South Dakota and Arkansas have similar laws and 10 other states considered such bills in 2004.

Gloria Feldt, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, told the newspaper that the “explosion” of the number of states considering such laws “is astonishing.”

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported in late November that the Texas legislature would consider in its 2005 session a measure that would let pharmacists refuse to dispense some birth control medication. According to the newspaper, the introduction of the bill may have been prompted by a situation in early 2004 where pharmacists at an Eckerd Drug Store in Denton were fired for denying a prescription for a morning-after pill to a rape victim.