Pope Gives Pharmacists Thumbs Down on EC

Pope Gives Pharmacists Thumbs Down on EC

On Monday Pope Benedict XVI told a group of Catholic pharmacists they should have the right to be conscientious objectors. This status would “enable them not to collaborate directly or indirectly in supplying products that have clearly immoral purposes such as, for example, abortion or euthanasia.”

“We cannot anesthetize consciences as regards, for example, the effect of certain molecules that have the goal of preventing the implantation of the embryo or shortening a person's life,” he said.

But preventing pregnancy in the first place isn't the same thing as abortion and anyone who doesn't know this certainly isn't qualified to be dispensing medication. Emergency contraceptive pills work in three ways (depending on when, in a woman's cycle, she takes them):

By keeping the egg from leaving the ovary

By keeping the sperm from fertilizing the egg

By keeping the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus

On the other hand, if certain pharmacists don't believe pregnancy should be prevented, by extension all matters of birth control are something they could feel ethically driven to oppose. And what about not having sex? Aren't abstinence and celibacy preventing pregnancy? Hell, I'm preventing pregnancy right now by choosing to sit here and type this rather than engage in pregnancy inducing pursuits.

Pope Benedict also mentioned that pharmacists should inform patients of the ethical implications of using emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs. Now while I'm happy to consider medical advice from a chemist I'm not quite sure what qualifies them as an expert in the arena of ethics. For all I know my local florist or accountant may be morally superior. Maybe we should start asking them what they think about emergency contraception and euthanasia drugs. I mean, heaven forbid women should have faith in their own counsel and actually want to exercise some control over if they get pregnant or not. But hey, what do I know, I'm not a florist or an accountant.
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