When Mahers comments aired, I laughed at the absurdity of such refusals, assuming the joke was based on a few isolated incidents; I didnt think these refusals were part of a growing national trend. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Recently, a House committee in the Minnesota Legislature approved Minn. S 2430, a bill that would allow pharmacists to exercise so-called pharmacist conscious clauses. This permits an individual to refuse to fill a prescription to which he or she morally objects, namely birth control and the morning-after pill. While the House committees approval means nothing official, those sponsoring the bill expect it to pass when the Legislature votes.
Whats irritating about this proposal is that it essentially gives people permission to pick and choose which parts of a job they are willing to perform. With this logic, Mormon Cinemark employees could reject customers wanting to buy tickets to R-rated movies and Jewish Burger King cashiers could refuse to add bacon to your hamburger.
The point is, its not the employees decision to make. Im a vegetarian, but when Im at work and a customer orders corned beef on their sandwich, I dont say, Im sorry, but I morally oppose the slaughtering and consumption of animals, and I feel uncomfortable permitting you to eat it. If you kindly step into the other line, my co-worker will be glad to press the corned beef button on the cash register.
Groups supporting the bill, such as Pharmacists for Life, say that no one should be forced to dispense a drug he or she feels is immoral. They argue that pharmacists would be required to notify their employers in advance, stating these beliefs, as well as making sure that the customers are informed of another location where they can obtain their prescriptions. Some still insist, however, that pharmacists should not actually be forced to transfer such a prescription if they feel very strongly.
Thus far, four other states have approved the pharmacist conscious clause, while many others are considering it. These denials of service, coupled with the increasing number of states seeking to ban abortion in hopes of challenging Roe v. Wade, is just the latest attempt by conservative Christians to assert themselves as the moral police.
I encourage anyone concerned about this matter to please call Rice Countys State Sen. Thomas Neuville at (651) 296-1279 or your own countys state senator.
Staff Writer Megan Sutherland is a senior from The Woodlands, Texas. She majors in English.