The Feb. 26 editorial, “A private partnership: Doctors, patients must not be subjected to interference from pharmacists,” disagrees with a court ruling that Washington pharmacists may refuse to sell emergency contraceptives. Pharmacists are described as “merely conduits in the doctor-patient relationship.” To obtain a Doctor of Pharmacy degree, these professionals master subjects of biology, chemistry, mathematics, genetics, pharmaceuticals and medical ethics.
The plaintiffs believe that life begins at conception and Plan B and Ella destroy human life. The plaintiffs referred patients requesting these drugs to nearby pharmacies. There was no evidence that anyone in Washington had ever been unable to obtain a morning-after pill (or any time-sensitive medication) in a timely fashion because of religious objections.
The state Board of Pharmacy permits pharmacies to refuse to stock and dispense some drugs for business and convenience reasons but not religious ones. The court ruled that the board’s rules are not neutral, they are designed to force religious objectors to dispense Plan B. The court corrected a violation of the First Amendment.