STS062Essay2

STS062Essay2 - Rights of Pharmacists vs. the Rights of...

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Rights of Pharmacists vs. the Rights of Women The Morning-After Pill Melissa Tanner May 18, 2006 STS. 062 Drugs, Politics and Culture
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Pharmacists, in increasing numbers, are refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, commonly known as the “morning-after pill,” citing a conscientious objection to the drug. The morning-after pill thus creates an inherent clash between the rights of women and the rights of pharmacists. All issues related to abortion are rife with conflict and are characterized by strong, unwavering opinions. The morning-after pill has become one such battleground between pro-life and pro-choice supporters. While a legal over-the-counter medication, emergency contraception is laden with moral issues. Some see the morning-after pill as equivalent to an abortion – or the murder of an unborn child; while others see it as a legitimate – and legal – solution to a problem. So is refusing to sell the morning after pill a justifiable expression of personal belief or is it merely a threat to women’s rights? While compelling arguments can be made for both sides of this issue, the integrally democratic aspect of conscientious objection, the right to exercise one’s own judgment, and the right to adhere to one’s moral beliefs outweigh the other considerations. The morning-after pill was first developed in the 1960’s as a solution for rape victims. It is now commonly used as emergency contraception for women at risk of unintended pregnancy. 1 The most common forms of the pill are Preven and Plan B. According to the Food and Drug Administration, morning-after pills are 80 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Though there is some controversy over exactly how the pills work, the Mayo Clinic explains that the morning-after pill prevents sperm from reaching the egg, stops the ovaries from releasing eggs that can be fertilized, and keeps already fertilized eggs from attaching to the walls of the uterus (known as implantation). It must be taken with 72 hours of sexual intercourse, and is only available by prescription in most states. The morning-after pill 1 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc – “A Brief History of Emergency Hormonal Contraception” 2
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is different from the “abortion pills,” in that abortion pills terminate already established pregnancies, while emergency contraceptive prevents pregnancy. 2 Despite this, some still consider taking the morning-after pill to be tantamount to an abortion because they believe that life begins at fertilization, and not implantation. Others simply have moral or religious objections to the use of any form of contraceptives. It is because of these reasons that some pharmacists conscientiously object to filling prescriptions for morning-after pills. The United States has a long history of allowing for conscientious objection.
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This note was uploaded on 11/09/2011 for the course ARCH 4.401 taught by Professor Utemetabauer during the Fall '06 term at MIT.

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STS062Essay2 - Rights of Pharmacists vs. the Rights of...

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