Tuesday, October 25, 2005

So are you going to raise this woman's baby?

A woman in Tuscon, AZ, was raped. She then demonstrated remarkable composure, we think, by setting out to prevent herself from getting pregnant, a task that, in Tuscon, AZ, requires a rape victim to visit every pharmacy in town in a vain search for Plan-B or similar "morning after pills." After visiting dozens of pharmacies, she found one that stocks Plan-B. The only pharmacist on duty refused to dispense it.

So, if she becomes pregnant, is this pharmacist going to adopt the child and rear the cute little bundle of rapist joy?

Some people have said this is a matter of women's rights or, even more degrading to everyone, that it is a matter of commerce. We think it is a matter of public health. When a patient takes a doctor's order to a pharmacist, the pharmacist should fulfill that order so that the patient can be healed. Now, in many circumstances, fertility is not a disease, and treatments to prevent it are silly in those instances. In some circumstances, it is not a desirabled condition, and if, after discussing it with her doctor, a woman does not desire to be fertile--and safe medicines are available for this purpose, as well all know--the pharmacist should hand over the pills.

This is not merely a matter of reproductive health. What if pharmacists want to withhold morphine from cancer patients, because people on death's doorstep should have every opportunity to share in Christ's suffering at the time of death? What if pharmacists withhold HIV drugs, because, as Jerry Falwell once said, HIV is the tool of God sent down to rid the earth of homosexuals?

We mention the raped woman in Tuscon for another reason: All those conservatives who say that abortions in cases of rape and incest are tolerable to them but all other abortions must be stopped are full of shit. They have no compunctions about endeavoring to make abortion so scarce that even in cases they say they would tolerate, abortions are not available, as Plan-B was not in this case.

So, if pharmacists refuse for non-health reasons to release on a doctor's order the medicines they keep under lock and key, we should take the medicines out from under lock and key.

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