Morality in Your Medicine Cabinet: The Pope on Conscientious Objection to Other People's Contraception


Pope Benedict XVI advises pharmacists that they can refuse to provide women with contraception. According to the AP:

Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that pharmacists have a right to use conscientious objection to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs and told them they should also inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs.

Benedict told a gathering of Catholic pharmacists that conscientious objection was a right that must be recognized by the pharmaceutical profession.

As reason's very own Kerry Howley noted when this controversy erupted a while back:

Something is off when access to contraception depends on who is working the late shift at Walgreen's. The real scandal is not that women are being denied birth control, but that they have to ask for it. There is no reason why a woman's access to contraception should depend on a single Roman Catholic with a conscience, or why a pharmacist should have to weigh the decision between denying a woman her prescription and violating deeply held moral beliefs.

Contraception doesn't belong behind the counter; it belongs over-the-counter. A woman's access shouldn't hinge on whether she has health insurance, whether she has a doctor she can call at 5 a.m., or how her neighbors feel about the culture of life. Women should be able to order stacks of the stuff off of the internet to keep in their medicine cabinets, and pharmacists should be free to keep their drugstores clear of anything they find morally questionable. Pharmacy owners should be equally free to work out their own individual policies—and employ workers who agree to abide by them.

Whole AP story here.