Mazie Hirono and Cory Booker Say Pharmacists Need to Provide Birth Control Regardless of Religious Beliefs
Six states have laws or regulations that allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medication for religious or moral reasons. Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) want to create a federal law that makes this practice illegal. The pair this month introduced the Access to Birth Control Act, which would require pharmacies and pharmacists to provide women with birth control and emergency contraceptives without undue delay. “Women’s reproductive rights must not be restricted in any manner – whether it is the right to end a pregnancy or the right to access birth control,” Hirono said. “Pharmacists should not be able to interject their own personal beliefs to deny women prescribed medication. I will continue to do everything I can to protect women’s health and their right to control their bodies.” Though pharmacies are generally regulated by the state, laws regarding access to emergency contraception vary across the country. Only eight states explicitly require pharmacists to provide medication to patients even if there are objections, and seven others allow pharmacists to refuse but prohibit them from obstructing access to the medication. The bill explicitly states that a pharmacy and its employees can not intimidate or interfere with a customer’s access to contraceptives. It also says that if the contraceptive or medication is not in stock, the pharmacy must inform the customer and offer to either refer or transfer the prescription to another pharmacy or to order the medication to that pharmacy to be picked up at a later date. “At a time when reproductive rights are under increasing attack by the Trump administration, protecting Americans’ access to contraception is more important than ever,” Booker said. More here.