Muslim Phamacist Denies Morning-After Pill

From the Telegraph:

A Muslim chemist repeatedly refused a mother the “morning after” pill because of his religious beliefs.

Jo-Ann Thomas, a school crossing patrolwoman with two children, was told that even though the item was in stock she should go to her doctor for her supplies.

When she was denied the pill at a Lloyds Pharmacy near her home in Thurcroft, Rotherham, she asked why and says she was told the pharmacist was a “deeply religious Muslim”.

She said: “I am a 37-year-old woman, not a daft girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing, and the chemist has no right to tell me whether I can or can’t take the pill.

“It’s my choice, not his. It’s his religion, not mine. He’s a dispensing chemist and his job is to dispense drugs.”

(via Religious Freaks)


Christian Science Pharmacist Refuses to Fill Any Prescription


  1. And it’s his pharmacy, he can refuse to sell whatever he wants to whoever he wants, if he’s disagreeing with the owners policy he’ll get fired.

    Go to another pharmacy.

    People are whiny bitches about rights, especially when they don’t understand how they work.

  2. When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, religious nutters protested its use, claiming it intefered with an act of God. There is no reason why such an interpretation of Christianity should not be considered equally (in)valid today…

    This religiously backed refusal to sell morning-after-pills is no different from a Christian firefighter refusing to put out a fire that was caused by lightning.

  3. He has a right to not sell it, she has a right to buy it someplace else.

    Gay couples have the right to marry, Clergy who don’t believe in marriage have a right to refuse to do the ceremony.

    It’s how rights work.
    danp is right.

  4. What if it’s not available anywhere else? What if it’s a small town with one pharmacy and travelling to another town will take too much time? Should the entire town be held hostage to one pharamacist’s religious beliefs? I guess dan p and radmila think that’s ok. We’re not talking about a goddamn wedding here, we’re talking about basic health care, which shouldn’t be held hostage by anyones narrow religionist prejudices. I’m fine if some minister doesn’t want to perform a gay wedding, nobody gets hurt. But I’m not fine if some wannabe holy man pharmacist gets to decide who gets health care and who doesn’t. What the hell is wrong with you people?

  5. I completely agree with danp and radmilla. She can go to another pharmacy. It is very rare that a town be so remote that all other pharmacies are inaacessable. Also, I am sure an hour or so drive sure beats having a baby. I personally drove all over town once in search of emergency contraception. I wasn’t confronted by religious beleifs though. One place only accepted prescirption, one didn’t carry it, and finally I went the health department which gives it indiscrimately. The only obstacle really is transportation.

  6. also, the woman said, “I am a 37-year-old woman, not a daft girl who doesn’t know what she’s doing.” If she was a daft girl, would it be ok to deny the pill?

  7. It’s not a matter of transportation, or the unlikeliness of having another pharamacy nearby, or preserving the pharmacist’s “freedom” to discriminate, etc…

    IT’S THE PRINCIPLE! Do you want to have random people with random, ill-informed religious biases making medical decisions for you, or not? Yes or no? I say hell no to that. It’s the goddamn principle. If you’ve got a prescription from an MD, and the pharamacist has the drug, it should be his duty to fill the prescription, regardless of what he or his goddamn redneck mega-church preacher thinks of it or not. Period.

  8. If the pharmacist will not fill a ceratin prescription because it conflicts with their deeply held, sincere religious beliefs, the pharmacist should seek another job where conflicts will not arise, like toilet cleaning.

    I believe that these idiots actually enter the profession just to cause this kind of trouble.

  9. Sorry to disappoint Americano with the whole petty theory of “human rights”. I agree that it should be available to whomever wants it, but the fact of the matter is that people who have religious convictions have the right to supply or not to supply.

    Smoking is legal, if I own a convenience store and I’m an anti-smoker, I have a right not to contribute to the problem by selling cigarettes.
    I have that right.
    You on the other hand have the right to go across the street and buy them.
    The morning after pill is still controversial.
    Some won’t supply it for ethical reasons, not religious…it’s their right.
    Not every gyno will perform abortions either…there’s that pesky “rights” thing again…gee, isn’t that what the west prides itself on?
    Americano, perhaps you should change your moniker to “Talibano”

  10. It’s about time Chris posted something damning about Islam (albeit with a pointer at the end that is equally damning against Christianity).

    This blog has almost daily postings against Christianity. That’s fine with me because I think that all religions suck. But why do so few posts take a whack at Islam?

    A thinking person can’t help but wonder: Which religion is worse? No contest: Islam. Why isn’t there equal opportunity bashing here?

  11. Which is the fastest growing religion?

    What about the world at large?
    You do realize that this is nothing more than a silly little blog right? I mean I appreciate the sentiment that the links I’m posting actually mean something but you do realize that yesterday I featured a child’s halloween costume in the form of a toilet?

  12. Maybe you don’t rant on the Muslims out of fear. You don’t want to be another Salman Rushdie, or Danish cartoonist, or Ayaan Hirsi Ali, or Theo van Gogh?

    C’mon Chris! Let’s see you put a little more heat on the Muslims for a while!

  13. Dave, this sounds like a perfect day to start your very own blog. You even have a theme for it all picked out. What’s stopping you?

  14. Which religion is worse?

    Is it better to have 99 kicks in the head or 100? Kicks with army boots or trainers? 1 second apart or 10? Or maybe, just maybe, you might prefer not to be kicked in the head in the first place and none of the other difference actually mean a damn thing?

  15. Dave said: “Maybe you don’t rant on the Muslims out of fear.”

    Actually, what Chris really fears is street musicians playing Sound of Silence for hours on end. Why do you think he never posts about Simon and Garfunckle?

  16. Maybe it is up to the employer (pharmacy owner) to consider a person’s religious convictions in the descision whether or not to hire somebody. Forget the religious aspect here. I am not a Jehova’s Witness and while I disagree with their belief system, I would not attack it prima-fascia. I would, however, include a question on a job application for a pharmacist that says “do you have any personal beliefs that would prevent you from dispensing contraceptives?” I’m not asking about your religion, simply asking about what aspects of the job requirement you wold be able to perform. A certain degree of discrimination, as bad as this may sound, must be allowed to exist in a system as vital as health care. Should we hire parapalegic or quadrapalegic persons to be fire fighters, so as not to discriminate against the disabled? A parapalegic or quadrapalegic could contribute quite well in a position where their disability did not directly come to bear, such as a dispatcher, instructor or administrator. Pharamacists are in great demand. Perhaps this man can work in research or clinical treatment. But just as it would make no sense to have a fireman in a wheelchair gripping a hose, it makes no sense to have a pharmacist not dispensing everything that is legal and approved to the public. The pharmacy bears the blame for advertising itself as such and yet providing a front-line practitioner who does not provide every service that the company claims to offer, such as the totally legal morning after pill or any other source of contraception. But since they do stock the drug, obviously at least one other pharmacist/chemist (or more) does dispense it. Let the owner or manager get that person to come in and take care of the customer’s need. It would make them think twice about hiring another person who could not in good conscience dispense this substance. There is a reasonable person’s limit to what is acceptable. Who would fault the fire department for discriminating against someone who was not physically able to do the job?

  17. I’m really tired of hearing about these stories. They make me so upset. These folks have no business being pharmacists. Next thing you know they’ll be denying condoms and the birth control pill.
    DO YOUR JOB PHARMACISTS! I don’t care what your reasoning is, if you can’t do your job you need to find a different career. QUIT meddling in other people’s lives, it’s none of your business.

  18. Thowing my hat in the ring.
    The paharmacists can choose not to sell what ever he wants. If he is a wack job and completely out of line iwth community values, then there shoudl be someone to open up a new pharmacy. Funny how the far left (not democrats) only wants rights for those it agrees with. Not those who have a contrary opinion.

  19. This is akin to a Christian fireman refusing to put out a Mosque that is in flames because the teaching of Islam offends his religious beliefs… Unbelievable…

  20. Radmila, part of the problem is that people see pharmacies as being neutral entities that are simply there to dispense their products based on some straightforward rules (do you have a valid prescription, insurance, enough cash, etc.). I must admit, that’s how I’ve always thought of them. I don’t think of them as some family owned corner drugstore.

    Let’s say I go to get a Passport — I expect to be able to get one as long as I am within the normal set of rules and regulations for being able to get one (religious beliefs not being part of those rules/regulations). If a clerk at the Passport office refused to allow me to renew my Passport because of some personal beliefs, everyone would be up in arms about it. The clerk would most likely be fired for not doing their job properly.

    It’s admittedly not the best analogy, but I think there’s a perception out there that Pharmacies should work the same way.

    Say you’re vegetarian who happens to be a janitor. You wouldn’t go choose to work at a slaughterhouse because it would clearly be at odds with your own beliefs. To go work there, and then refuse to mop up animal blood would be totally nonsensical and illogical. I doubt that your employers would be sensitive to your beliefs, and honestly, would you expect them to? The job involves mopping up animal blood in addition to whatever else is on the floor. There are better ways to make statements… Maybe you’d join some organization that tries to spread information about the evils of slaughterhouses, etc.

    It may be within your right to go work at a Pharmacy and then be choosy about what you dispense. Fine. I’m more criticizing the decision to do so in the first place. Seems self-important, self-righteous, and a touch of power-tripping all mixed up in one. If that man can make judgements on my decisions by not selling me the drug I’m asking for, then I can certainly judge him back for making the decisions he’s chosen to make.

  21. I understand what you’re saying Reuben, but let me give you an analogy that is real.

    I have a staff member who is a vegetarian.
    She’s a teacher on my staff.
    She will not go on a field trip to the zoo, or the circus. She books the day off if there is a trip planned to go to the zoo or the circus.
    It’s her right.

    I don’t agree. But it’s her human right. I have to respect that, and I do.
    If I”m a pharmacist and I own the pharmacy, I have the right to not sell a controversial drug, even though it’s legal. I have a right not to sell cigarettes, even though they’re legal.
    I understand that this is how the whole “rights” thing works.
    You can’t stop me from selling something that’s legal, but you also can’t stop me from selling something that I don’t want to sell.
    Especially if it’s available someplace else.
    A pharmacist is not a Doctor, and a Doctor has the right to refuse to perform abortions.
    Why shouldn’t the Pharmacist have the right not to sell a drug?

  22. Your example seems totally fine to me. She’s a vegetarian, and so she bows out of certain events she doesn’t feel comfortable doing. No harm done, nobody is affected, she’s not forcing her choices on others.

    Maybe this is a fine distinction, but it’s a little bit different when you’re in a position to dictate and influence the outcome of other people’s decisions. If you own a pharmacy and you choose not to stock a drug, that’s fine. People come to the pharmacy, you tell them it’s the policy of the pharmacy to not carry that drug, end of story. I still think that’s different than some hired pharmacist working the counter refusing you a drug that he knows is in stock on the basis of his own personal moral beliefs (which sounds like the situation here, but I could be wrong). Something doesn’t ring true about that whole situation to me.

  23. I think some people on here are missing the point with this. I don’t know the situation in America but in the UK, where this case comes from, we have the something called NHS and public health.

    A pharmacist is a licensed profession and with that license comes a degree of public duty. To withhold treatment to somebody on the grounds of your religious beliefs is in contradiction to this public duty. Therefore this act could be considered negligent and a breach of the license conditions which could lead to the pharmacist in question having their license to practice revoked.

  24. I like Kelly’s idea of adding that question to a pharmacist’s application.

    Radmila, why does she not go to the zoo? Are zoos cruel and hurtful to the animals? The circus I understand.

    Doctors take an oath to help all people, all the time. Apparently pharmacists only help people when it doesn’t interfere with their religious and ethical belifs. Classy.

    I’ve always wanted to see a Christian Scientist pharmacist. That would be very funny.

  25. Since this happened in the UK it’s subject to the laws of the UK. Apparently there is an ethics clause. I’m not sure how legally binding that is. Regardless, a spokesman for Lloyd’s Pharmacy apologized for the incident. Obviously this incident was not a reflection of Lloyd’s policy. Perhaps Lloyd’s should make it perfectly clear to their pharmacists exactly what their policy is regarding refusal of service.

  26. Reuben, I appreciate what you’re saying and I agree. The thing is that this Pharmacist would be in the wrong if he was the only Pharmacist that this lady could get the drug from, because then his “right” not to sell it would be infringing on another’s right to buy it.
    Just like I have other available employees to go to the zoo or circus.
    If we don’t like it, then there have to be amendmentts made to the human rights code. In North America, there are so many cultures and beliefs that our countries protect, that it’s hard to “slice and dice” them. There will always be a challenge upholding and protecting someones right to practice their religion, or ethical beliefs that they have brought with them from a totally different way of life.

    Seth, she (the employee) disagrees with the caging of animals taken out of their natural environment. Doctors take that oath, it’s true…but not all perform abortion. In their eyes they are protecting the unborn. That’s a continued debate. Here in Toronto, Dr Morgantaler has performed abortions since the 1970’s and has been subject to death threats and attempts on his life. Protests and interference from wingnuts blocking the entrance to his clinic. His staff harrassed…it’s a professionals right to not want to deal with that on a daily basis.

    I don’t believe that a Pharmacist should let his personal beliefs infringe on his/her job, and I don’t think that Doctors like Morgantaler should have to deal with right to lifers for doing something legal…but until the law is clearer, we have to suck it up.

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