No Pills for You!

We've heard of rogue pharmacists making it difficult for women to get emergency contraception, but this latest pharmaceutical activism goes even further. When a woman went to pick up her birth control pills at her pharmacy in Great Falls, Montana last week, she received a note from the pharmacy owners that they are discontinuing this "class of medicine" (via SaveRoe).

"Snyder Drug has decided to no longer carry oral contraceptives. Although we no longer will carry this particular medication, we will continue to serve your prescription needs with utmost care and trust." ~ Stuart Anderson, Kurt Depner and Kori Depner

When the woman called to ask why the pills were being discontinued, one of the owners told her that oral contraceptives are dangerous for women. This is par for the course for Stuart Anderson (co-owner of Snyder Drug who also owns Anderson Family Pharmacy in Great Falls). He ran a Mother's Day ad in The Great Falls Tribune with an anti-choice message:

The sanctity of human life has always been one of our most cherished heritages. The family unit is the foundation of our society. The devotion and sacrifice of mothers over the years and the continual care and concern for their unborn has been the cornerstone of the family. On this Mother's Day 2007, we wish to express our gratitude to all mothers for their unselfishness in our behalf. As health-care professionals, we call upon the American people to once again reaffirm the right to life for future generations of the unborn and join with us in our efforts to restore respect, dignity and value to each human life—born or unborn.

Anyone with money can run an advertisement, but health-care professionals should not be able to deny women legal medication. The irony of this particular situation is that this 49-year old woman hasn't been using birth control to prevent pregnancy, but for a different medical condition. Regardless, any woman should be able to access contraception without judgment. I doubt that this woman feels the "utmost care and trust" from Snyder Drug.

Planned Parenthood is asking people in Montana to send a letter to the editor or post a review of Snyder Drug on Yahoo! Local. They've already received this review in support of the activist pharmacists:

Their service is wonderful. Furthermore, they are doing the work of G*D. They understand that intercourse should only be for procreation. If promiscuous women have a problem with that they are free to get their drugs elsewhere. My husband and I have never used birth control and we have 11 beautiful children; all gifts from G*D. Who are we to think that scientists with their unnatural drugs should interfere in G*D's divine plan?
Bottom line = Great Service & Great Morals.

This is the extreme right-wing perspective that we're up against; sounds like that woman went to the "Contraception Is Not the Answer" conference.

There is broad-based public support for contraception and "virtually all women (98%) aged 15-44 who have ever had intercourse have used at least one contraceptive method." The bottom line is that contraception is safe, legal and effectively prevents unintended pregnancy; it should also be accessible.

For more information, see our Fact v. Fiction and Issue Brief on contraception.

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  • invalid-0

    You are the extremist. You are intolerant of people who disagree with your radical contraceptive/pro-abortion agenda. A person is entitled to their viewpoint and beliefs and has a right to act in accordance with them.

    The right to contraception or to kill your child is not in the constitution –it is a result of liberal judicial activism.

    You are blinded by pharmaceutical companies lies that being a woman means swallowing hormone altering pills for men and throwing off your natural fertility. Your fertility is not your enemy –pharmacuetical companies and feminist lies are your enemy.

    So Sad!!!

  • tyler-lepard

    Gen, I don’t think fertility is the enemy. And the majority of America believes that everyone should have access to contraception (which, as I states previously, is safe, legal and effectively prevents unintended pregnancies — thereby reducing the need for abortions, which I would think you would be glad for). I don’t want to impose my personal beliefs on anyone else; everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, true. But if a pharmacist doesn’t want to do their job (which is to dispense prescriptions), they should choose a different job.

  • invalid-0

    There is no study showing that the availability of hormonal contraception reduces the demand for abortion. Data collected thus far is showing a trend in the opposite direction.

    There is legitimate clinical basis for objecting to hormonal therapy for women who are not sick. The medical establishment is behind this trend for older women, but the financial incentives driving the sale of hormones to younger women are still too strong.

    People unfamiliar with the practice of pharmacy should not be trying to redefine the function of pharmacists. Washington State has legislated in such a way as to eliminate the most significant functions of pharmacists. Corporations will soon conclude that there is no need to pay high salaries to pharmacists who are constrained by law from practicing in the best interest of the patient as they were trained to do. The citizens of Washington will soon be relying on physicians to be their medication experts, and the results will be interesting to see.

    The byproduct of the ongoing effort to eliminate conscientously objecting professionals from health care practice will be reduced health care availability for everyone.

  • invalid-0

    Looking briefly at the comments make me sad for the KB and Gen. I don’t know anybody who is “pro-abortion.”

    As long as a pharmacy has someone on call who wants to serve women with contraceptives to avoid pregnancy and to plan wanted pregnancies, then those pharmacists who don’t agree can still be true to their beliefs. A pharmacy that does not have the on-call pharmacist should not be serving the public in general and shut down.

    The well-those-are-private-businesses argument doesn’t wash. Just like individuals, corporate charters (who have the rights of a person) must also have rights AND responsibilities. We all benefit from civil (and may I add secular) society.

    What part of the public roads and inner-city sidewalks leading to the pharmacy didn’t women who seek to fill their prescriptions have a part in supplying with their tax dollars? When someone shoplifts at a pharmacy and is later apprehended, what part of the court system did women who seek to fill their prescriptions have a part in supplying with their tax dollars?

    The healthcare industry as we have it today is already rationing services. Making pharmacies serve the entire public won’t change the corporatized medicine we are getting. Bean counters, Big Pharma, for-profit hospital chains, HMOs, and the corporate model that seeks to eliminate competition and to dominate the marketplace is turning all professional clinicians into “knowledge workers.” This is happening in other industries as well.

    I am very concerned about ALL the dangerous drugs that Big Pharma pumps out while the FDA, like all agencies under the current government-hating administration, are underfunded and infiltrated by the people committed to the bottom-line health of the industries they are supposed to protect.

    Women need to know all the risks and benefits of any prescription drugs she takes. My recommendation to any woman is read the small print so that she would know what symptoms would alert her to problems extenuating from her contraceptive.

    Also, like many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, their properties cause the good bacteria located in the intestines to be reduced, allowing the bad bacteria to grow–hence yeast infections which can occur any where in the body or systemically.

    Taking a good pro-biotic two hours after taking oral contraceptives (or antibiotics, Motrin, Benadryl, etc.) can offset this problem. And since all prescription drugs have inherent risks, then one would want to consume a healthy diet consisting of good fats and plant-based foods (more than animal foods), to exercise, to avoid tobacco, and to minimally consume alcohol.

    Let those of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose have the courage to speak our truth. Let us throw off the blanket of dominance with which those who want to make our bodies their property smother us.

    Goddess bless us all. (Oh my Gawd–I said “Goddess” Surely I’m doomed!)

  • harry834

    I do regret that many have negative feelings about contraception. If that's the case, they are free to exercise their right not to take the pill. What they are not free to do is prevent other people from using their free choice and take the pill if they want. They are safe if taken properly, the same rule for any medication. And no more risk than any certified medication.

  • invalid-0

    What other careers should those who oppose abortion and contraception be excluded from?

    Contrary to your statement–You do want to impose your lifestyle and love of contraceptives on those that disagree with you.

    You would destroy basic human freedom so that you can pill pop your fertility away!

    Women have been fed a lie that contraception is liberating–it is only liberating to the pharm companies.

  • invalid-0

    This is ridiculous. If you wish to be a pharmacist, then you should be willing to fill all legally prescribed medications and not be overriding the orders of a doctor. If I lived in Great Falls, I would boycott this store entirely, and organize others to do the same. If he wishes to treat the women of Great Falls with such disrespect, they should be returning the sentiment.

    Does he still fill Viagra prescriptions?

  • invalid-0

    I couldn’t agree with you more Tyler, and you said it well. It is infuriating to think that someone can get away with this when it’s not a matter of personal beliefs, it is his or her job. Regardless of where an individual stands on the debate, it comes down to being a matter that should be discussed between a woman and her health provider – and in the end it is the woman’s decision. Those who want to interfere may choose to do so, but they cannot do so while also being professionals. As health care professionals they have a duty to provide all information and resources available to the patient, regardless of their own personal beliefs, so the patient can make the best decision for themselves. It is not an issue of right or wrong, it is an issue of personal freedoms and choice. And most importantly, it is an issue of good care – one cannot provide adequate care for someone if they have allowed their own biases to jeopardize their judgments and services.