ADF defends right of conscience for pharmacists

ADF attorney submits letter to defend pharmacists opposed to dispensing contraceptives, including “morning-after” abortion pill
Tuesday, March 14, 2006

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Alliance Defense Fund sent a letter Friday to the Washington State Board of Pharmacy urging the board to adopt a policy protecting the right of conscience for pharmacists.  Many pharmacists object on moral, ethical, and religious grounds to dispensing contraceptives, including the “morning-after” abortion pill.

“Pharmacists shouldn’t lose their jobs because of their religious beliefs,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Byron Babione.  “Pro-life pharmacists should not face discrimination on the job because they are morally opposed to dispensing pills that can induce abortion.”

The letter points out that including a conscience clause to protect pharmacists does not make contraceptives unavailable nor does it ban contraceptives.  Conversely, if the board does not include a conscience clause, the right of pharmacists to act according to the dictates of their conscience will be banned.

“The right to one’s conscience is a fundamental right recognized by both the Washington and U.S. constitutions,” said Babione.  “It is unjust to condition the keeping of a person’s job on renouncing his or her moral, ethical, and religious beliefs.  Including a conscience clause allows women to access contraceptives and also protects the ability of pharmacists to maintain their moral integrity on the job.”

The letter points out that Title VII requires employers to make a reasonable accommodation for an employee’s religious observances and practices that conflict with employer requirements unless the employer can show that the accommodation would involve more that a minimal burden.  A copy of the letter sent by ADF to the board can be read here.

ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the Truth through strategy, training, funding, and litigation.
 

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