Not just over there…

There are now pharmacists in Britain who refuse to dispense contraceptive pills. Scandalous nonsense; anyone who refuses to perform such an essential part of the job should instantly be struck off.

I wonder if the pharmacist’s job currently is, or will soon be, protected under religious discrimination legislation? I have a horrible suspicion that the answer is ‘yes’ to at least one. Stupid, stupid laws.

In case anyone were wondering, I’d apply exactly the same standards to Muslims in a similar position, or to blood-drinking Satanists with pentagram brands on their foreheads being rejected from customer-facing jobs. If you’re incapable of being an adequate pharmacist because you’re a member of a demented cult, then you shouldn’t be a pharmacist.

(via Green Fairy)

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16 thoughts on “Not just over there…

  1. Luckily, the market will fix this particular problem quite adequately. Must be very decent money in selling contraceptives…

  2. Andrew: I’m not so sure. The problem with pharmacists, unlike, say, paper shops selling porn, is that there aren’t too many of them, especially in rural locations. So while people in big cities will be fine, others who only have one practical pharmacist to go to will be buggered. This argument was made when the government suggested allowing Tesco etc. to setup as pharmacists: it’ll be great for people with cars etc, but will drive local shops out of business, meaning that the old, poor etc will be stuck with worse service.

    Unless you mean that nutjobs will be barred from working as pharmacists by drug companies as it’ll loose them money? But then John’s point about the law gets in the way.

    Anyway, it’s absurd. Why should I go to vast lengths to live my life as I choose because some nutjob wants to impose their views of morality on me.

  3. I guess that’s one way of avoiding the problem.

    I thought about making a "anal sex, birth control" joke, but decided it was too crude. My apologies.

    Anyway, where are you getting the KY Jelly from?

  4. I feel I ought to comment, as perhaps the only pharmacist who frequents your pages. I’m trying to present both sides of the argument here, rather than my own views.

    On a personal level I have no objection to selling or supplying emergency hormonal contraception (EHC), and feel that the moral decision to use such a product rests with the individual concerned. My job would be to ensure that it is sold within the ethical rules my profession and the legislation wider society has provided.

    The current code of ethics states that:

    "before accepting employment pharmacists must disclose any factors which may affect their ability to provide services. Where pharmacists’ religious beliefs or personal convictions prevent them from providing a service they must not condemn or criticise the patient and they or a member of staff must advise the patient of alternative sources for the service requested.”"

    However, this has been a hot issue professionally for some years. Those opposed to EHC view it as a form of abortion, rather than contraception. They argue that under the 1967 Abortion Act other health care professionals have protection against discrimination in employment for their views on abortion, which pharmacists do not. They would say that no one suggests that people cannot be doctors or nurses because they are unwilling to perform abortions.

    Would they be discriminated against because of their views on this subject? Some suggest the current code of ethics pharmacists operate under do exactly that. That said there are members of our profession who think the same way you do.

    Personally I don’t accept that EHC is abortion, but can see how this may be difficult for people who hold the view that it is. Even as a fairly hardened secular atheist I find it hard to categorise the people I personally know on the other side of this argument as religious maniacs.

  5. You people are talking pish, as usual. "Why should I go to enormous lengths to live the life I choose, wah wah wah wah." The endless bleat of the western liberal. Having no convictions of your own, you are terrified of people who do. How are you ever going to defend yourselves when confronted by real fundamentalists? Huh?

  6. Uh, let me think. Is the correct answer ‘blow them up’?

    I’ll remember the ‘bleating’ and ‘no convictions’ stuff next time some Right Whinger complains about the nasty elitist liberal conspiracy who are stealing his money as taxes and spending it on teaching (oh, sorry, ‘brainwashing’) kids to understand science and practice tolerance.

  7. No, because hormonal contraception is available on prescription only.

    Although a system which allowed doctors to write electronic prescriptions that could then be filled automatically without a pharmacist’s intervention would be an excellent one. Any reasons why this wouldn’t work?

  8. Other than the normal reasons why complicated databases don’t work, no. We could even connect it to the ID cards database. It does seem like quite a lot of expense to go to though when compared to the expedient of a quick clip round the ear though.

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