The Seattle Times and The Seattle PI are both reporting that the Washington state Board of Pharmacy has put forward a proposal that will allow Pharmacists to refuse to sell medicine that is in conflict with their beliefs.
I say: If you are a pharmacist, your job is to provide the medicine that the doctor prescribed, checking only to make sure that it doesn't conflict with other medicines the patient is taking, and lecturing only to make sure the patient understands how to take the medicine. If you have a problem dispensing any medicine that is legal to dispense, YOU SHOULD NOT BECOME A PHARMACIST. Find another job.
If any pharmacist should refuse to fill my legal prescriptions based on their moral beliefs, I will do my best to get that "pharmacist" fired, because such a person is morally repugnant in a job where people's lives depend on the medicine they get. They conflict with MY beliefs.
What if there isn't an alternative pharmacy? What if all the pharmacists in an area decide that they can't morally provide certain medicines? Despite its weak attempts to protect the patient from such situations, they can and will happen if these kind of exceptions are allowed. Therefore, these exceptions should not be allowed.
Do we have garbage haulers who refuse to haul garbage that contains certain items? Do we have teachers who refuse to teach certain children? Do we have policemen who refuse to work on certain streets? Do we have firemen who refuse to respond to calls to certain buildings? Why, then, should we have pharmacists who refuse to dispense certain drugs?