Consciences First
Bishops defend right of pharmacists to conscientious objection

.- The president and general secretary of the Chilean Bishops’ Conference came to the defense of the “legitimate right” of pharmacists to exercise conscientious objection and not sell the so-called “morning after pill,” this week.

In dialogue with the press, conference president, Bishop Alejandro Goic of Rancagua, referred to the sanctions against pharmacies that refuse to sell the drug.  “I believe the legitimate right to conscientious objection exists and you cannot be intolerant towards a conscience that does not want to contribute to the promotion of a pill that could be abortive when scientific doubt regarding the issue still exists,” the bishop said.

Likewise he reiterated that reasonable scientific doubts exist about Levonorgestrel, the main ingredient in the morning after pill.

“In one of two hypotheses that exist today regarding the abortifacient nature of the pill, it is not therapeutic, it simply impedes gestation of a new life, and if gestation has already occurred, it destroys it.  Nobody can oblige [me] by law to act against my conscience,” Bishop Goic said.

Conference secretary general, Bishop Cristian Contreras, said, “The issue is much wider than the sanctions against pharmacies.  We have been specific about the issue innumerable times: the issue is life, how we address the issue of life.  We see that when there are doubts about the existence of a human being we must always choose the safer option.”

“I think it is providential what Pope Benedict XVI said about the freedom of conscience that people must have when we are dealing precisely with a drug that can have an abortifacient effect,” he added.

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