An Illinois court recently decided that pharmacists could legally refuse to sell emergency contraceptives if they had a “personal religious objection”. That means women -- sometimes after a traumatic or unwanted sexual experience -- may be denied critical emergency medical care, simply because of the religious beliefs of a pharmacist.
Walgreens, an Illinois based drugstore, currently turns women seeking emergency contraception away if the pharmacist on duty has a religious objection to dispensing Plan B. This forces women to go to another location or return at a later time. Since emergency contraception is time sensitive -- the sooner you take it, the better it works -- these delays can make the medication ineffective. And, for women in rural areas, there may not be another pharmacy nearby.
I am asking Walgreens to create a policy which ensures women can always purchase the emergency contraception they need at the time and place they need it -- even if the pharmacist on staff objects.
As a PhD candidate in public health my opinions are in line with the American Public Health Association. Universal access to reproductive health care is a crucial aspect of women being able to control the timing and spacing of their pregnancies. The Center for Disease Control has declared that family planning is one of the 10 most significant public health achievements of the 20th century.