Around 50,000 Catholics in Virginia now have the opportunity to fill their prescriptions at a pro-life pharmacy. At the blessing ceremony for the DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly on Tuesday, Bishop Paul Loverde praised the pharmacy for allowing families to “shop in an environment where their faith is not compromised.”
The pharmacy’s manager, Robert Semler, described the unique store as offering “superior pharmaceutical care—both traditional and clinical services—focusing on the individual in a family-oriented, pro-life environment, free of contraceptive products and anti-life messages.”
DMC’s opening also highlights the debate that is occurring across the nation over the clash between a pharmacist’s conscience and the laws of some states that require pharmacies to fill prescriptions for contraceptives or provide a referral.
Semler said that the plight of other pharmacists makes him “grateful to be able to practice within the umbrella of Divine Mercy Care where my conscience will never be violated and my faith does not have to be ‘checked at the door’ each morning.” DMC Pharmacy operates as an entity of Divine Mercy Care.
The economic realities of the venture were not far from the minds of the businessmen either. Bob Laird, the executive director of DMC, told CNA that the pharmacy is positioned between two large Catholic parishes in the area. “St. Timothy’s Catholic Church and St. Veronica’s Catholic Church in Chatilly, VA combined have nearly 20,000 parishioners. Three other churches just beyond them have another 30,000 parishioners,” Laird said.
Dr. John Bruchalski, Divine Mercy Care’s president, explained his group will provide this solid customer base with service that is “values-based and consumer-driven.” “Neither patients nor professionals want to abandon their conscience while they seek medical care,” he added.
The store will stock standard prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and quality alternative products including vitamins, natural products, homeopathics and herbals, home health needs and special order products and equipment. Absent from the typical drugstore offerings will be contraceptive products, which the group says it will not “dispense, recommend or counsel.”
Laird explained why people are not using birth control and are instead selecting other options. “Birth control is not good health care. Birth control makes healthy reproductive organs sick and prevents the marital act from completion. This is not healthcare. Birth control is a lifestyle choice,” Laird explained to CNA, adding that, “Many [people] reject such choices for moral and health reasons.”
As an alternative, Laird said that the pharmacy carries Natural Family Planning materials from the Couple to Couple League. He also noted that the League teaches NFP classes in the area and that DMC Pharmacy “supports the work of the League and supports these classes.”
Bishop of Arlington Paul S. Loverde lauded Divine Mercy Care group for these efforts to protect human dignity during the blessing of the pharmacy. “At a time when healthcare is often robotic and non-personal, you bring together a concept which treats the human person with the dignity and respect which he or she deserves from the moment of conception to natural death.”
As Bruchalski explains, the goal of DMC is to be “professional, personal, and passionate about how we infuse our community with the love of Jesus Christ. We must not separate our faith from our work. The God of science is also the God of revealed religion.”