Monday, June 16, 2008
Faith Based Discrimination
On the front page of today’s Washington Post, there’s an article about “pro-life” drugstores. Robert Semler, a “pharmacist with a conscience” has recently opened DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly, VA. Semler not only refuses to stock Plan B, but shuns all contraceptives including condoms and birth control pills. This “faith-based workplace”, as Semler describes, is part of a growing movement around the country of “pro-life drugstores,” which deny women access to birth control, based on their “right of conscience.” Apparently, the right to a “faith-based conscience” is more important than women’s right to have access to contraceptives. Pro-lifers have yet to explain a valid reason for promoting religious beliefs at the expense of reproductive rights, and why their so-called rights matter more. Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life International, says “this [practice] allows a pharmacist who does not wish to be involved in stopping a human life in any way to practice in a way that feels comfortable.” It seems that the “comfort” of pro-life misconceptions is more important than women’s reproductive health. As Marcia Greenberger, of the National Women’s Law Center, explains, “Contraception is essential for women's health. A pharmacy like this is walling off an essential part of health care.” Indeed it is, yet these pro-life pharmacists claim that “such methods can cause what amounts to an abortion.” However, most respected medical professionals agree that birth control does not cause abortion; it prevents pregnancies that might lead to abortions. Are we really going to allow religious zealots to re-define science? It appears that the war against birth control is no longer a hidden agenda; which leads me to believe that the anti-choice movements now feels that outlawing birth control is a reasonably obtainable goal. Interesting, that “faith-based pharmacists” also don’t have an explanation for why they stock Viagra, but not contraception. The “pro-life conscience” seems to only extend to promoting a double standard limiting female sexuality and reproductive health.