Here's a political topic that hasn't been quite run into the ground yet:
A fourth-generation pharmacist whose drugstore still sits on the courthouse square of his conservative small town downstate, State Senator Frank Watson knew exactly what side to take when Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich ordered pharmacies to fill prescriptions for women wanting the new "morning after" pill, even if it meant putting aside their employees' personal views
Does a pharmacist have a right to refuse to fill a script written by a physician?John Cole at Baloon Juice
argues that a pharmacist is, essentially, a government-licensed drug dispensing machine; the pharmacist takes orders from a doc and should fill them no matter what their personal opinion on the script.
Here's my thing: a pharmacy is a privately owned business. As such, they should be allowed to refuse to do business with whoever or whatever they want. They're government licensed, but not government mandated.
If I get a marriage license, I don't expect the government to tell me how to execute that marriage. If a car inspection joint wants to refuse a sticker to someone because they are morally opposed to having shit dangling from the mirror, that's their right. I don't agree in that case or the morning-after case, but it's their right to disagree with me and run their business accordingly.
Some folks there are making the argument that script drugs aren't like bread, you can't go just anywhere and get 'em. Again, I call bullshit. I grew up in a small town. That town had almost as many pharmacies as bars. I would be willing to bet that several of them will dispense the requested medication. If not, there were probably a hundred within driving distance. It sucks if you wound up in fundie land and couldn't get the pill on your first try. If it sucks that bad, go find another pharmacist and don't ever patronize that first place again. Everybody understands a hit to the pocketbook.
I don't want to criticize Cole too harshly, because I like his blog, but I want to mention this:
This is not a morals issues. This is an issue about buttinski creeps trying to impose their values on others. Do you stand in judgement of overweight people when they go in for their blood pressure meds?
How about someone who needs an antibiotic to combat a sexually transmitted disease? If they are single, should you deny it so they can suffer yuor God's wrath? If they are married, do your morals dictate that you call up the patient's spouse?
He's right and wrong, it isn't a morals issue: it's an issue of what individuals do with their property. In any of the situations above, the pharmacist can refuse to sell those drugs on his ground. If he disagrees with singles getting VD meds, he shouldn't sell them. It's his business, and he can run it into the ground if he so desires.
Most of all, having the government intercede on how a legal business is run is friggin' criminal. Yes, the pharmacist requires a license, so he can be trusted to the state not to sell drugs to people that shouldn't have them, and to distribute drugs in the proper amount. But refusing a morning after pill isn't selling blackmarket Oxycontin, it's a business decision. Perhaps a stupid one, but stupid decisions are the basis of liberty. The government is there to protect people, not to manhandle people into doing something they legitimately think is wrong.
I don't agree with that pharmacist. If I found out that someone in my area was doing something like that, I would avoid their business like the plauge. But I would not be writing my senators to force that person to sell drugs he didn't want to; it is his right to refuse and my right to refuse to give him my money.