Keeping the Faith Extends to Prescription Drugs

In case you haven’t noticed: there’s a new influx of faith-based pharmacies.

out that the "pro-life" groups have a broad agenda. It’s not just that
they are against abortion on moral grounds, they want to take us back
to the dark days when contraception was prohibited.

Recent news tells us that now there are quite a multitude of pharmacies that can refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control:

Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy is among at least seven pharmacies across the nation that are refusing as a matter of faith to sell contraceptives of any kind, even if a person has a prescription.

in Virginia are allowed to refuse to fill prescriptions for any reason
whatsoever. So a small pharmacy in a Virginia suburb won’t carry
contraceptives of any type, on moral grounds. This is their policy, in
keeping with their faith. However, a call to the pharmacy determined
that they do fill prescriptions for Viagra because it’s for "a medical

So for the faith-based, erectile dysfunction is a
"medical condition" but pregnancy is not. This interpretation of
"medical" is also in line with health insurance companies. Some
insurance companies cover Viagra but do not cover oral contraception,
using the same reasoning even though Viagra is a much more expensive
drug and thus costs them more.

Impotence is no more a
disease than pregnancy. The drug industry promotes Viagra and other
similar drugs as a lifestyle "choice." Recall some of those ads that
tout the "choice" of timing for sexual activity and compare it to the
anti-choice lobby that denies women a choice should that first "choice"
result in pregnancy. At the same time, the insurance companies and the
heath insurance industry claim ED drugs as the answer to correct a
"medical condition." Technically, contraception prevents a medical
condition, whether that condition is pregnancy or some other medical
problem. If a woman is willing to fight her insurance company and prove
that she needs oral contraception to prevent something other than
pregnancy, she has a good chance of winning.

But Viagra
doesn’t prevent anything except deflation of the male ego and
genitalia. If medications that prevent medical conditions are not to be
covered by health insurance, then logically they can’t also cover any
kind of preventive care, from flu shots to vaccines to check-ups to
mammograms. But most health insurance plans cover preventive care
because they know it’s sound policy and cheaper in the long run. Since
when does health insurance cover cosmetic surgery, which might also
boost the ego?

Slowly, the creeping faith-based initiatives
have worked their way into both public policies and private practice.
From foreign aid to medical dispensaries, the right-wing has forged a
back-door for enforcing a ban on both abortion and contraception. The
foreign aid policies may be changed with a new administration. What a
private pharmacy does or doesn’t do is (and should be) outside of
legislative reach.

That said, however, it seems like fair
game to push for a legislative initiative mandating that any pharmacy
that accepts Medicaid or Medicare prescription plans for reimbursement
must accept all bona fide prescriptions without discrimination as to
the purpose of the drug. If the Bush Administration can cut off funding
because an organization discusses abortion even if it doesn’t offer
abortion services, why shouldn’t pharmacies be held to the same

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  • invalid-0

    When I saw the video of the Virginia pharmacy ( and astoundingly the women who applauded the decision not to dispense any kind of birth control), I figured that they would have viagra.
    I always think of that old saying when I read about these so called “pro-life” positions-about keeping the women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. And these guys need their viagra to accomplish this.

  • invalid-0

    “Impotence is no more a disease than pregnancy.”

    Calling pregnancy a “disease” is pretty callous, and comparing impotence to pregnancy is just downright cruel. Impotence and infertility are bona-fide negative medical conditions because something in the body has ceased functioning properly, namely fertility and the organs associated with it. Contrast this with pregnancy which occurs when everything in the body is functioning properly in a healthy way. Why should my premiums go up just to subsidize other people having sex without having to worry about getting pregnant. If you can’t afford contraceptives then maybe you (men and women) shouldn’t be having sex. Unlike erectile dysfunction or infertility, pregnancy can be prevented with responsible abstaining. I shouldn’t have to pay more for other people’s risky lifestyles.

    • invalid-0

      “Why should my premiums go up just to subsidize other people having sex without having to worry about getting pregnant. ”

      Why should my premiums go up just to subsidize impotent men getting their rocks off? Why should my premiums go up to subsidize the pregnancy costs of women who didn’t want to get pregnant in the first place? Pregnancy and delivery have faar more medical costs involved than the cost of birth control.

  • invalid-0

    Contrast this with pregnancy which occurs when everything in the body is functioning properly in a healthy way

    That’s not always true. There are plenty of times when pregnancy deranges the inner workings of the body. Eclampsia and brittle diabetes come to mind. Why shouldn’t someone be able to prevent a dangerous pregnancy?

    Impotence and infertility are bona-fide negative medical conditions because something in the body has ceased functioning properly, namely fertility and the organs associated with it.

    Again, not always true. Many cases of erectile dysfunction are due to diabetes. Viagra ain’t gonna cure that. It’s purely “lifestyle”, to allow men to enjoy sex despite the ravages of diabetes. If you truly think that oral contraceptives only exist to support a woman’s “risky lifestyle,” then you should be equally against viagra.

  • invalid-0

    Technically, pregnancy is a parasitic infection. There is a creature, growing inside a host, drawing the nutrients it needs to survive from its host until such time as it is able to leave the host body. That “parasite” draws important nutrients from the mother’s body. Calcium from the bones and teeth, other vitamins and minerals from the mother’s body if she doesn’t get enough in her diet. If a mother’s diet is already lacking in nutrients to sustain her own health, the “parasite” within her, draws even more of these nutrients from her body allowing her body even less to sustain its own existance. By this definition and explaination, yes, pregnancy is a form of disease. Would you ban the sale of medications to rid the body of a tapeworm, or rid a person of head lice? Both of these ailments, like pregnancy, involve a creature that cannot sustain its own life without the life of its host. And before anyone gets up in arms over my statements here, I personally have gone through, by choice, this “parasitic infection” three times and have three children to show for it. But as a woman who has given birth, I know the ravages pregnancy can put a woman’s body through. The feeling that your body is not your own for months, the care in things you do in order to protect that which is growing inside of you, and the months, even years before your body is ever truly your own again. I made the choice to go through this, but there are millions of women who do not have this choice, or would rather wait until conditions are more suitable for such a great decision. With the addition of Viagra and other ed medications thrown into the mix, this just increases the number of women who need these kinds of services. Men are using viagra to have sex with women. Do these women not have the choice whether or not a pregnancy results from the desires of those men? You claim birth control supports risky behavior. Yet most women on birth control are in committed relationships or marriages and simply feel that now is not the time to bring a baby into that marriage or relationship. Is a married woman who does not feel that this stage of her marriage is the time for a child not allowed to enjoy sex, while her husband can at any time get the drugs to allow him to do so? Yet her husband can get viagra without trouble, so if she is not ready for a child, but he wants sex, is she to risk having a child she and her relationship is not ready for, or is he to go somewhere else for the sex he got the drugs for, thus promoting even more risky behavior than the birth control his wife would be taking would promote.
    The facts are this. Viagra has no purpose but to allow a man to have sex. It prevents no disease. It cures no disease. It eases no discomfort other than a man’s ego. On the other hand, oral birth contol prevents a condition from arising that takes a great toll on a woman’s body. It prevents months of discomfort, and what could cause, under the wrong circumstances, great strain to her situation and relationship, even a committed marriage. More than that, there are other medical reasonings for birth control. It can balance hormones, releaving many other conditions and having many effects other than simply preventing pregnancy.