A new bill working its way through the Kansas legislature could set a major precedent when it comes to defining how much latitude a pharmacist has in dispensing drugs.
According to the Kansas City Star, the new bill would “bar anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they ‘reasonably believe’ might result in the termination of a pregnancy.”
“Reasonably believe” is a pretty big (and ambiguous) phrase. After all, anti-choice pharmacists often state that they believe emergency contraception, and even regular hormonal birth control, inhibits the implantation of a fertilized egg and causes abortion, despite the medical evidence stating otherwise.
If pharmacists are allowed to dictate what prescriptions they will or won’t fill (or, in the case of Plan B, simply provide access to, since the drug is kept behind the counter) based on “reasonably believing” they could harm a “preborn child from the moment of fertilization,” well, what is to stop them from dispensing other items that “might” cause harm to a fetus?
And in fact, what if we extend that to all clerks, tellers, waiters and so on, allowing them to use their discretion as to what women who are or could be pregnant should be allowed access, buy or eat based what these employees might “reasonably believe” could harm a “preborn child.” Perhaps the server at a bar should deny a glass of wine to the woman who might be pregnant and not know it? Or even a woman obviously pregnant and has simply decided to have a glass of wine? Or the deli counter can refuse to serve lunch meat on the grounds that the pregnant woman purchasing it may eat some and possibly miscarry?
Oh, and don’t even try to walk out of that grocery store with a bag of coffee beans or a few cans of tuna fish. Someone, after all, needs to look out for the potential baby.
As you can see, the “reasonable” possibilities are endless.