“Under federal and state law we must reasonably accommodate a religious conviction, and for some states we must accommodate moral, ethical, or conscientious objections that may prevent a pharmacist from filling specific medications. In such instances, the pharmacist is required to notify us in advance about such a religious conviction, so that we can ensure there are other arrangements in place to ensure the patient’s medication needs are promptly satisfied.”
A Walgreens spokesperson said the company intends to have its pharmacies certified to dispense the drug but did not specifically address the question of employees with objections to abortion.
“We are working through the registration, necessary training of our pharmacists, as well as evaluating our pharmacy network in terms of where we normally dispense products that have extra FDA requirements and will dispense these consistent with federal and state laws,” the Walgreens spokesperson said.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA Pro-Life America, an anti-abortion group, called for political action to counter the regulatory changes.
“State lawmakers and Congress must stand as a bulwark against the Biden administration’s pro-abortion extremism,” Dannenfelser told the Wall Street Journal. “We hope to see the FDA do its job to protect the lives of women and put an end to chemical abortions.”
A December 2021 change permanently lifted the requirement for patients to obtain mifepristone during in-person appointments with a physician. This change allowed abortion pills to be prescribed via telemedicine and prescriptions to be filled by mail.
The Catholic Medical Association criticized the rule changes in a Jan. 3 statement.
“As health care professionals, medical ethics experts, and patient advocates we wish to speak strongly against these violations of women’s rights to informed consent and quality of care,” the group said. “Politics have no place in the care of women.”
The group characterized safety provisions as “minimal” given that they do not require the prescribing physician to be in the same state as the patient. It objected that no in-person physical assessment is required to document the weeks of gestation or the position of the fetus. The lack of in-person examination potentially aids those who would use the drug to conceal the rape of a minor.
“The FDA admits there is the potential for excessive bleeding and that there have been 28 deaths associated with the use of this drug,” the Catholic Medical Association statement continued. “No follow-up physical examination is required to assess for an incomplete abortion and the resulting risks of continued bleeding, retained products of conception necessitating surgical removal, or infections, which can lead to infertility and in extreme cases even death.”
While the mifepristone regimen explicitly aims to cause an abortion, other so-called “morning-after pills” such as Plan B and Ella have drawn objections over concern the contraceptives have abortifacient effects.
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