Ethics and Health Care Destroyed in the Pharmacy - Part Two

Paul Dean

Recently, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich compelled pharmacists in his state to fill prescriptions for what some are calling "emergency contraceptives."  The truth is, pharmacists, under threat of punishment by law, are now obligated to fill a prescription for the "morning-after pill." Obviously those who refuse to comply can lose their jobs, professional status, or worse, be convicted and sentenced in a court of law.

A number of issues are raised in this debate including the role of ethics in the workplace, the deception in pro-abortion activism, the arrogance of individuals without moral commitment, the erosion of constitutional rights, and the response of the Christian in the midst of such circumstances. Yesterday, we commented on the first issue. Today, we will comment on the second and third.

Second, the deception in pro-abortion activism is overwhelming. This dynamic should not be surprising in light of the lack of commitment to God, morality, or ethics in a postmodern world. The nomenclature of "emergency contraceptives" is particularly disturbing. In the first place, the average person in the street hearing that terminology thinks of contraception or birth control. He does not think of abortion.

Secondly, the intentional linkage of the term contraceptive with "Plan B" is political. We should not be surprised at what depraved man will do to get his way in his quest for autonomy. In the minds of many, pragmatism rules the day as the ends justify the means. To win political victory, the pro-abortion camp has no problem with deceiving the public which is swayed by the best spin, the law-makers who may be biologically ignorant, and their own consciences as they seek freedom at the expense of others and society as a whole. (We don't have the space to talk about the harm perpetrated upon our society in the deaths of millions of unborn children including the suffering of those involved whether immediate in regard to family members who disagree with such a decision, or delayed in regard to the mother in so many cases; undiscovered scientific, medical, or technological breakthroughs; unrealized cultural contributions in the arts or aesthetic development; and stifled economic growth. Other values will never come into being including those of external and transcendent nature including the simple joy of having children prevalent in our society).

Thirdly, as Mohler points out, "in an intentional and very effective verbal shift, pro-abortionists have successfully redefined 'conception' in many medical contexts to refer to the entire process whereby the fertilized egg is successfully implanted in the woman's womb." If the definition of conception can be successfully changed to refer not to fertilization but implantation, the debate over abortion will be put on a different playing surface. "Plan B" and other methods will no longer be considered abortion and millions more will die who would not have died as an ignorant public will follow the standard line and definitions health-care professionals offer. "After all, a doctor should know, right?" To be blunt, even now, how many are aware that certain birth control pills taken by millions of women every day, including Christian women, can act as abortifacients? Many of those women, if informed, would no doubt find another means of birth control. If conception is redefined, it will simply be another human atrocity in a long list throughout our history from Cain and Abel, to Nazi extermination camps, to genocide in the Sudan.

Third, the arrogance of individuals without moral commitment ought to strike fear in the hearts of all of us, whether Christian or not. Mohler cites an editorial in the New York Times with reference to pharmacists and their right of conscience. The writer asserted that refusal to dispense "Plan B" is "an intolerable abuse of power by pharmacists who have no business forcing their own moral or ethical views onto customers who may not share them. Any pharmacist who cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed by a doctor should find another line of work." Unbelievable!

In the first place, no abuse of power exists. The pharmacist is not exerting control over another. He/she is simply refusing to violate his/her own conscience. The abuse of power lies in forcing the pharmacist to do such. If one pharmacist refuses to dispense, there are plenty of others who will. Burger King doesn't serve roast beef so I go to Arby's when I’m in the mood. Will Burger King be forced to serve roast beef? While the moral issues are not present in the example, the fact remains that person in this country has a variety of options from which to choose in any sphere of life. I can count at least ten pharmacies within five miles of my home.

Secondly, who says Burger King is obligated to serve roast beef? Who says I have a right to roast beef? No one may be forced to sell or dispense anything. No one has a right to "Plan B." Philosophically speaking, no one has a right to even health care, let alone a right to destroy life. Health care is a privilege and blessing, not a right. We have adopted a convoluted notion of rights in this "me" society. How quickly persons of means and privilege begin to think they deserve those means and privilege. Indeed, it's reached into our national consciousness.  

Thirdly, to refuse to dispense "Plan B" is not forcing moral or ethical views onto customers who don't share them. The customer does not have to adopt the view. Again, other pharmacists or pharmacies will be glad to accommodate. And again, it is the pharmacist who will be forced to set aside his moral and ethical views to comply. One wonders how persons with such convoluted thinking have any success at all. Of course, the natural man has been given over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:21; 28).

Fourthly, to tell a pharmacist to simply find another line of work demonstrates a complete lack of fairness, rational thinking, concern for others, or character. Pharmacists have chosen their profession so that they might help people, not kill them. Further, most pharmacists became health-care professionals long before "Plan B" came around. To force someone out of a job simply because a controversial drug has been developed, and one that can be obtained in thousands of pharmacies despite those who refuse to dispense, is simply too ridiculous to debate. Moreover, how many years and how much money does a pharmacist invest into becoming such? It's not like asking someone to quit McDonalds and go to bagging groceries in terms of investment and training required, though that would be wrong as well.

Arrogance is also displayed in the brazen trampling of the pharmacist's individual rights. There should be no debate here. I may have a transcendent right, though not by law, to drive my car as fast as I like. But I do not have the right to fly through a school zone at 100 mph when kids are boarding the bus in the middle of the street. Why not? Because that third grader has the right not to be cut in two and strained through the grill of a speeding car driven by a murderous free spirit. A woman may have a right to take an abortifacient by law, though not before God, but her unborn baby has the right not to be boiled alive through chemical abortion. The pharmacist has a right not to participate in such. No one has the right to force another into such activity. The pro-abortionists are quick to call for women's rights. But we must remember, an individual's rights stop where the next individual begins. Even the libertarians go brain-dead on this one as they too clamor for women's rights. Again, no one has the right to harm another whether one believes in God or simply believes in a free society. Of course, a free society that ignores God's perspective is not free at all.

Need we even speak to the arrogance of those who are not only willing to kill their unborn children that they might have sexual freedom, but who are now willing to force pharmacists to violate their consciences or be put out of work? What about his wife and children? How can a family be expected to keep their home, have enough to eat, and maintain a thousand other things if Dad loses his job (or Mom for that matter)? "Let's cut their throats so we can have sex without having to worry about preventative birth control." Do we really want people with that mindset establishing our cultural agenda, ethic, and moral code?

Needless to say, this sexual freedom comes at the expense of personal responsibility and society as a whole. The society that increasingly moves toward sexual freedom without responsibility or commitment will continue to destabilize as the concept of family disappears. As that happens, the moment will come when that society collapses. History has proven such without exception: again, without exception.

[Part Three Tomorrow - Scroll Down for Part One]