Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 29, 2005
POLITICS: Health and Freedom

I agree completely with the Radley Balko post on pharmacists and abortion quoted in the third item of Jon Henke's post here. I also agree with Henke, in his second item, that "pro-choice" feminists are being hypocritical (what else is new?) in opposing freedom of women to choose whether to have silicone breast implants. I'm no fan of implants, but given the shoddy plaintiff-lawyer science used to attack them, the choice should really belong to the women who want them.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:36 AM | Politics 2005 | Comments (15) | TrackBack (0)

Where does that end? What if your pharmacist (and please let's assume we are talking about rural situations where access is limited since the issue is moot in cities as there are a million pharmacies) becomes a Christian Scientist and won't give you the nitro you need for your heart disease? Is that OK? Aside from the fact that the "morning after pill" has nothing to do with abortion (the pill does not work if the egg has been fertilized so the argument than becomes that conception begins at the moment of intercourse;ludicrous) people in the medical industry are forced by the nature of their positions to do things they probably find against their nature all the time. Doctor's have to perform life-saving operations on pedophiles, serial killers and other scum-like individuals. I am sure that there are some that would rather not but nonetheless they are compelled to anyway.

Posted by: jim at April 29, 2005 11:03 AM

The morning after pill does indeed have a lot to do with abortion. It hardens the lining of a woman's uterus so that many times conception does occur but then the morning after pill prevents implantation from occuring - thus it is an abortifacient. Sometimes it prevents conception, but more likely than not it will act as a contra-implantation pill.

Posted by: Paul at April 29, 2005 2:37 PM

Here are some sources to show the inaccuracy of Jim's post that morning-after pills (EC)have "nothing to do with abortion."

According to the FDA, "EC pills ... act by delaying or inhibiting ovulation, and/or altering tubal transport of sperm and/or ova (thereby inhibiting fertilization), and/or altering the endometrium (thereby inhibiting implantation)" (FDA Notice, 62 Fed. Reg. 861 [Feb. 25, 1997]).

Fertilization can begin in as little as 15 to 30 minutes after intercourse. The morning-after pill can be taken up to 72 hours after intercourse. Therefore, there is a high probability that a woman will be taking the pill after conception has occurred.

Brown University associate professor of medicine, Ralph Miech, M.D., Ph.D.: "This type of pill causes an abortion," he wrote in the Providence Journal on August 3, 1998. "From a pharmacologic perspective, this type of pill should be called an 'abortion-after pill'."

Posted by: Paul at April 29, 2005 2:59 PM

Paul, you are just letting those stubborn little facts get in the way of a good argument.

Posted by: WD at May 2, 2005 10:59 AM

It's the same old thing with these posts. Cannot see the forest for the trees. The issue is whether pharmacists can intercede in the doctor-patient relationship. Is it OK for pharmacists to deny whatever drugs they feel like regardless of what a doctor and patient have consented to? Is it OK to deny JUST this drug or cateogry of drugs even though they are legal and abortion is legal?

Posted by: jim at May 2, 2005 6:31 PM

Other drugs are a complete red herring. How many other drugs are likely to provoke a significant number of pharmacists, against their own financial interests, to refuse to sell them?

Responding that abortion is legal is . . . well, it's just another step in proving what conservatives have been saying all along about liberals in the culture wars: once something is legal, it quickly becomes mandatory, with the space for individual morality vanishing. Why does the fact that somewhere between 5 and 6 people, among America's population of 290 million, say that abortion is legal mean that nobody else is permitted to refuse to be complicit in abortions?

Posted by: The Crank at May 2, 2005 9:11 PM

You assume that every person and pharmacist shares your values and that abortion is the only possible issue. While maybe this is the probability it is not the inevitability. Where do you draw the line? What if a pharmacist has moral issues with drugs that are potentially life-saving? You cannot deny that there are veins of religious thought that would include denial of certain (other) drugs to people. The problem with you righties is that you want to moralize everything rather than take practical looks at how the world works. The medical industry is heavily regulated and everyone who works in it knows it before they even get deep into it. Doctors have to save the lives of people they know are dispicable. It happens every day. Do you want a 3rd party interfering in your ability to obtain a doctor prescribed legal product? That is what this issue really is about. If pharmacists don't want to prescribe certain items those drugs should be directly available to sensical doctors who care about people's health and privacy. Keep the religion in the church.

Posted by: jim at May 3, 2005 3:27 PM

Jim, please don’t assume that everyone who is pro-life is one of the "righties" you refer too. You seem to imply in your post that most pro-life people are religious, and I think you are correct in that assumption. But then you should also know that many religious people who are conservative on moral issues are also liberal on social issues (such as Pope John Paul II), and you’d find out if you talked to some of us that we probably agree with you on a lot of issues other than abortion.

I think that people in favor of abortion rights need to acknowledge that abortion is a unique issue. I don’t believe you can classify the choice to have an abortion as no different from any of the other millions of choices people make every day. You cannot compare forcing pharmacists to hand over drugs that they believe makes them an accomplice in murder to "life-saving" medications that you believe will also be denied.

You say that "The medical industry is heavily regulated and everyone who works in it knows it before they even get deep into it." It is precisely for that reason that I don’t think you will see any of the Christian Scientists you refer to becoming pharmacists in the first place. If you know of other drugs that don’t cause abortions which pharmacists are denying, please let me know about them. In the meantime, I agree with what The Crank’s posted: "Other drugs are a complete red herring."

Posted by: Paul at May 4, 2005 1:03 PM


First of all I called the Crank a rightie which he is.

There are probably tens of thousands of pharmacists in this country. Do you proport to know the religious beliefs of every single one? I am using this as a for-instance. I don't know of any instances of other drugs being denied. Doesn't mean it has not happened or might not happen in the future. What if it did? Are you OK with pharmacists being able to deny people any drug based upon their philosophical beliefs? That is what this is about. You have to draw the line somewhere.

These are legal drugs, approved by the FDA on the market in one of the most heavily regulated industries in the country. In such situations sometimes you are not really allowed to intervene with your set or morals no matter how wonderful they may be. I have stated that doctors operate under these conditions as do other people in other professions (lawyers, no doubt, face similar moral/ethical dilemas from time to time). Your position is that it is fine and dandy for a 3rd party to arbitrarily interfere in the relationship with a doctor and patient. If that is the case then the drugs should be made directly available from doctor to patient.

On just the topic of the so-called abortion pill. What if the woman had been raped, raped by a family member or some other gruesome situation. Is it OK for the pharmacist to withhold the drug then? This position essentially stipulates that it is better for a woman to go get an actual abortion than to prevent (in many to most cases) a pregnancy from starting or for a zygote to not move further in the developmental process. There is an issue of practicality at-hand with this issue as well.

The issue of abortion is extremely complex (at least in this country). The law needs to be free of that complexity or you open a whole can of worms. I feel that Crank calls stuff red herrings because he is against abortion. My question would be "Is it possible that a pharmacist, due to religious beliefs, might deny someone a life saving drug?" Clearly it is possible if not probable and given the possibility I do not think you can have 3rd parties acting in an independent manner that has nothing to do with the actions of the physician and the wishes of the patient.

Posted by: jim at May 4, 2005 2:51 PM

You say you want to draw the line somewhere and not allow pharmacists to invoke conscience clauses for any drugs they please. I agree with you that a line should be drawn; I have no problem with a law that is specific. Pharmacists should only be allowed to deny drugs that kill. So a pharmacist can deny any abortion drugs, but must fill any prescriptions for these life-saving drugs which you feel a pharmacist may hypothetically deny. Now of course the abortion movement will attack any such law as unconstitutional. You know this full well, which is why you want people to go after a specific law. So you will not allow generic conscience clauses or specific ones. Unless you are willing to support a law that targets only abortion drugs, please stop bringing up these other hypothetical cases. I am sure that nearly every pro-lifer would support both a specific and generic conscience law.

Abortion is contradictory to everything a doctor is supposed to stand for. Why are you demanding that every doctor and pharmacist must denounce the traditional oaths and beliefs of people in the medical profession? Remember that thing called the Hippocratic oath? No doctor should be forced to perform an abortion, and no pharmacist should be forced to support a doctor who performs abortion. Even in cases of rape and incest, no doctor or pharmacist must be forced to be a part of it. Your analogy of doctors being forced to help despicable people is irrelevant. Doctors have traditionally helped despicable people, they have not tradionally performed abortions.

You said "This position essentially stipulates that it is better for a woman to go get an actual abortion than to prevent (in many to most cases) a pregnancy from starting or for a zygote to not move further in the developmental process."

That is not true at all. If someone told me to kill my friend or he would kill ten other people, I am not going to kill my friend. That doesn’t mean that I believe the death of ten other people is better. The morning-after pill causes abortions; otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Whether a child is aborted at one day or nine months is the same to me.

I often wonder if people who support abortion have ever truly considered the position of a pro-life person. If you believed that legalized homicide was being committed every day in this country, wouldn't you try to stop it? You want to make abortion into a freedom issue. It is a human rights issue.

Posted by: Paul at May 4, 2005 4:44 PM

Big flaw in your argument. Abortion in this country is legal and in the eyes of the law is not viewed as murder. Simply because you believe it is homicide does not make it so. Doctors who perform abortions (and other doctors who do not) do not view it as contradictory to their oath and the law supports their belief. Your desire is to impose religious beliefs into the law and allow a certain sector of the medical industry to act in a willy-nilly manner. You are caught up in a belief system that is not conducive to the making of public policy.

Your analogy is also way off. What if a woman said to you "I am going to stop my (in many to most cases-potential) pregnancy no matter what you do or say. I can either stop (in many to most cases) before it happens with a pill or I can stop it 6 months down the road." That is really the choice. There are going to be abortions in this country and this world (your argument is also wrong on this matter as abortions have been performed for centuries).

See your position isn't really that the pharmacists should get to choose to fill the prescription or not. Your position is that this category of drugs and abortion itself should be illegal. That is not the position of this country and it most likely never is going to be. This issue is about doctor-patient relationship and who is allowed to interfere in it. You are all caught up with the abortion issue when the legal issue (remember abortion is legal and so are these drugs) is whether an individual has the right to break that bond. They do not.

Posted by: jim at May 4, 2005 5:27 PM


Have you ever even read the Hippocratic Oath? Try typing it into Google. "I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.” How do you jive that with your argument that "Doctors who perform abortions do not view it as contradictory to their oath...” So again, no doctor or pharmacist bears any guilt or responsibility if they deny an abortive remedy.

It is also interesting to note that the classical Hippocratic Oath swore to the Greek gods, which completely undermines the argument that this is about Christians driving their agenda. The most intellectually advanced society of its time came to the same conclusion: no doctor should have anything to do with abortion.

One major thing that abortion supporters have never come to grips with (although I have heard one of them bring it up) is that abortion rights in this country were ill-gotten. I suspect most abortion supporters honestly know that there is absolutely nothing in the Constitution or Bill of Rights that even remotely implies that abortion on demand is something guaranteed to all female citizens. Abortion was around way before 1776, and yet it was not legal until 1973. If this right was guaranteed by the Constitution, why do we have no quotes from George Washington or Thomas Jefferson saying how this right needs to be protected? Gee, maybe because they believed all men are "created equal,” not born equal, with the unalienable right to Life.

Slavery was legal in parts of the U.S. when the Constitution was written. People later came to believe that was a mistake, so the Constitution was AMENDED to outlaw slavery. Women and minorities were not allowed to vote when the Constitution was written. People later came to believe that was a mistake, so the Constitution was AMENDED to grant suffrage to them. Can you see where I’m headed? If you believe abortion on demand should be guaranteed to all women, then write an AMENDMENT and see how many states you can get to ratify it. The Supreme Court cheated when they made abortion legal. And then you keep using arguments like "abortion is legal”, the "morning after pill is legal”, as if you expect pro-life people to just defer to this and not put up a fight. Abortion was never properly made legal in the first place, which is why we have absolutely no respect for this type of argument.

Now you may have no problem with Supreme Court justices granting and revoking rights on the fly, with absolutely no Constitutional basis, but how would you feel if you happened to disagree with the new rights they created out of nowhere? Suppose tomorrow the Court said, "We have decided that all pets are the property of their owners. As such, owners are free to do whatever they wish with their pets. So feel free to kick your dog, electrocute your cat, or permit any other acts of animal cruelty you wish. Furthermore, no state shall pass any law which inhibits the absolute right of an owner to commit animal cruelty.”

Now if this came to pass, I’m sure there are many Americans who would say, "Look, I disagree with animal cruelty, but it’s their pet, and it’s not my place to interfere.” But there would also be millions of Americans, including many of us pesky Christians, who would disagree with this and try to pass laws to limit animal cruelty. How would you feel about this?

Posted by: Paul at May 5, 2005 11:02 AM


You have jumped into the deep end of the pool and are really no longer addressing the topic. When one comes up that is actually about abortion you can continue on with your mission.

Posted by: jim at May 5, 2005 11:47 AM


It's all related.

You started the comments by writing that "the 'morning after pill' has nothing to do with abortion (the pill does not work if the egg has been fertilized." You stated this as a fact. Since that is not true, I felt compelled to respond, citing the medical fact that the morning after pill prevents implantation. Thus it causes abortions and does indeed work after the egg has been fertilized. You seem to have accepted the truth with regards to that point, since in a later post you mention that the pill may prevent the "zygote" from moving "further in the developmental process." So even though you have admitted that the morning after pill can cause an abortion, you still maintain that this issue is not "about abortion."

You also asked "Is it OK to deny JUST this drug or cateogry of drugs even though they are legal and abortion is legal?"
I have said that I would accept a general law that allowed pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions if it violated their conscience. In lieu of that, I would also accept a specific law that only allowed pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions if the drug in question was an abortion or euthanasia drug. Would you accept the specific law? If yes, great, we're done here. If not, how come? You asked a question which shifted the issue to abortion, and now you're citing irrelevance because we're talking about abortion.

Posted by: Paul at May 5, 2005 3:09 PM


You take this from way to religious a point of view to have a rational conversation with you. All you want to do is ban abortion and damn any consequences that go with that decision. It is impossible to reason with you because you are stuck on a very religious point of view. There is no way I could ever convince you of anything since you do not come to the table with an open mind. You want to ban abortion. Fine. You miss finer points of what this is about because you are hung up on that.

Posted by: jim at May 5, 2005 5:04 PM
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