In Michigan Catholic pharmacists may face moral dilemma

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Legislation soon to be before the Michigan House of Representatives may create a moral dilemma for Catholic pharmacists.

House Bill 6049, which passed the house judiciary committee last week, would prohibit pharmacists from using ethical, moral or religious standards to decide whether to dispense a prescription. If passed into law, pharmacists would be forced to dispense drugs that their consciences and ethical standards dictate they should not distribute — such as pills that cause abortion.

We are asking for Catholics to contact their state representative to oppose legislation that would violate an individual's right to conscience as well as the religious freedom clauses of the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution," said David Maluchnik, spokesman for the Michigan Catholic Conference, the Church's public policy voice in Michigan.

"Individuals enter the health care profession to heal," he added, "not to be forced by law to disperse controversial and unproven medications that fail to promote the dignity of life and respect for women."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchDrugs/Drug Addiction* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman Catholic* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

5 Comments
Posted May 26, 2008 at 7:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Summersnow wrote:

Here in IL a pharmacist friend lost her job after our Governor changed the laws to not allow freedom of conscience any longer.  She and others just settled out of court, but the fight goes on. 

My thoughts and prayers are with these folks.

May 26, 10:19 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

Reasonable accomodation for everyone but Christians.

May 27, 6:29 am | [comment link]
3. William P. Sulik wrote:

Just wait until the courts finish ramming through gay “marriage” - then all you rectors, pastors and ministers will have to “marry” gays whether you have a Scriptural basis for objecting or not. 

And don’t think the 1st Amendment will protect you—it might for those in denominations (like the Catholic Church) which have a clear doctrine against this sham—but if you are an Episcopal priest, there is no clear teaching you can rely on.  Indeed, as evidenced by what is happening in California in ECUSA, your denomination actually endorses this practice. 

See, inter alia, Gillette v. United States, 401 U.S. 437 (1971) (a person who had a conscientious objection to a particular war, rather than objection to war as such, was not exempt from military service); Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972) (a denomination which has a demonstrable sincerely held religious practice may be exempt from onerous compulsory attendance laws); United States v. Lee, 455 U.S. 252 (1982) (a person who has a religious objection to participating in the Social Security System may not refuse to withhold taxes); Bob Jones University v. United States (1983)  (an institutions religious beliefs are subservient to public policy goals) [Although I have always maintained that the better option in this case was to note that, contra, Yoder, the BJU policy and practice never approached the level of dogma necessary so as to be protected.]

But see, Thomas v. Review Board (1981) (a person who quits work based on religious beliefs and not upon a “good cause [arising] in connection with [his] work,” as required by Indiana statute, may collect state unemployment benefits).

In short, you will be nationalized - no longer a minister, but a Public Convenience.

May 27, 12:22 pm | [comment link]
4. nwlayman wrote:

Hasn’t this been a common thing for a while now?  It is fairly old news that a Church of England priest has *no* business asking if a couple wishing to be married (old fashioned idea!) actually believe in God, much less what the church teaches.  I know well a baptism in the C of E means little.  Many years ago now my sister was godmother to a child whose parents are atheists.  The mother was a religion teacher in the British public schools! Baptizing is what you *did* with a baby in England regardless of what you believed.

May 27, 2:34 pm | [comment link]
5. Chris Molter wrote:

This is one of the main reasons I stopped looking into pharmacy as a career.

May 28, 3:07 pm | [comment link]
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