Friday, April 01, 2005

Next Target of Radical Right-Wing Clerics?

It's been building for a while, but it's coming to a head in places. Pharmacists throughout the country are refusing to fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives, mistakenly thinking they are defending against abortion. It's happening in California, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Georgia, to name just the few news stories I ran across. By the looks of it this is a severe problem. Evidently this movement is being led by Pharmacists for Life, a group whose sole issue is to rally pharmacists to prevent the distribution of contraceptives and the "morning after pill." Media Matters has the scoop on these self-appointed moralists, including information about their lack of credibility.

Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois is going on the offensive to defend women and their right to contraception, having his Department of Financial and Professional Regulation cite those pharmacists who refuse for "failing to provide appropriate pharmaceutical care to a patient." He's also passed an emergency bill to force pharmacists in the state to provide such services or to transfer the patient's request to another pharmacy.

Contraceptives are legal, and pharmacists fill a public health obligation. Blagojevich is right to move forcefully, but more attention needs to be paid to this issue, as rampant as the abuse by radical right-wingers is.

It is becoming clear, from the gay issue to the Schiavo issue and now to this one, that the Radical Right-Wing Cleric agenda is to stifle the rights of American citizens.

Thanks to Duncan at Atrios for the tip.