Thursday, August 26, 2010

‘We insist: leave your conscience at the door’

Cristina Alarcon |

Pharmacists dispense advice to a colleague who will not sell the morning after pill.

I recently wrote an article expressing my delight that Washington State pharmacists will no longer be forced to dispense products or provide services they find morally objectionable. My elation at the Washington victory was quickly numbed, however, when an edited version ran as a “Point of View” on the Canadian Healthcare Network website. It is one thing for the public to oppose our freedom of conscience, quite another for pharmacists to be shooting themselves in the foot.

Only 42 per cent of pharmacists who voted on the network’s site agreed that “they should have the right to refuse to sell products or provide services they consider morally objectionable”. Sadly, the other 58 per cent believe they should be forced to do what they believe to be wrong -- “Well, Mr. Smith, I hate to do this to you, but if you really insist, take this overdose and don’t bother calling me in the morning.”

My happiness at the Washington victory was further squelched by the plethora of intolerant, and in some cases highly dogmatic, statements posted by fellow pharmacists. While some offered considered views that mirrored common misgivings among the public, others shot assertions from the hip, epitomizing the very judgemental attitude they so fear in their opponents. “Pharmacists are to be non-judgemental” -- except, it seems, when criticizing one another. Full story

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