A new bill proposed last month would oblige pharmacists to fill prescriptions for birth control and other abortifacients, even if it is against their moral and religious convictions. The bill was proposed by California Assemblyman Lloyd Levine, D-Van Nuys.
About a dozen states have passed laws granting pharmacists the right to refuse filling such prescriptions. If the new bill were passed, California would be the first state to would require pharmacists to dispense contraceptives.
"A pharmacist's job is to fill the prescription that a doctor prescribes for a patient," said Levine, who is also working on a bill to legalize doctor-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients.
Pharmacists For Life International said pharmacists should retain the right to make decisions based on their beliefs and clinical judgments.
"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," Karen Brauer, the organization’s president, told the Los Angeles Daily News.
Brauer opposes birth control pills because she does not think they are safe for women’s health. "Birth control serves to make women sexually available to men at the convenience of men," she added.
Assembly Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, disagrees with the bill, stating that it is up to the free market to determine what sells inside a business, including pharmacies, and not the government.