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March 27, 2005

Pharmacist to Thank for Teen Pregnancy Rate

by Red Wolf

Australia: Loony fundies are a funny bunch of people. They don't like people having abortions, yet are more than happy to sneer at teenaged mothers and do their darnedest to cut off all support possible. One particular loony fundie in Merriwa, a small rural town in the New South Wales Hunter Valley, has managed to take his moral and ethical stance one step further and landed the town with the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country. The wingnut in question is the proprietor of the town's sole chemist and he refuses to stock condoms or the morning-after pill.

There is concern about the high rate of teen pregnancies in a small rural town in the New South Wales Hunter Valley where the only local pharmacist refuses to stock condoms.

A NSW Health report has found the Hunter-New England region has one of the highest teenage birth rates in the state of 6 per cent, compared to 1.6 per cent in North Sydney.

The owner of Merriwa's only local pharmacy says he will not sell condoms or the morning-after pill for ethical reasons.

Instead of sacking the bastard, the moronic Pharmacy Guild is backing his stance. Welcome to the 1950s.

Chemist condom ban worries Hunter town - ABC News Online, 22nd March 2005.
Guild backs chemist over condom ban - ABC News Online, 23rd March 2005.

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Posted in Love Thy Neighbour at 05:26. Last modified on December 05 2007 at 08:43.
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1: Posted by: Claire | March 28, 2005 6:38 AM

There was a similar case in Wisconsin, USA:

Feminist Daily News Wire
October 15, 2004

WI: Pharmacist Faces Hearing After Refusing to Fill Birth Control Prescription

Neil Noesen, a pharmacist in Wisconsin, faced a disciplinary hearing earlier this week for refusing to fill or transfer Amanda Phiedes prescription for birth control pills in July, 2002. Noesen is accused of unprofessional conduct by the states Department of Regulation and Licensing. Noesen was filling in at a Kmart pharmacy when Phiede attempted to pick up her birth control pills. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reports that Noesen, a devout Roman Catholic, asked Phiede if the pills were to be used as contraception. When she said yes, Noesen refused to fill the prescription, citing his belief that doing so would be a sin.

Phiede then attempted to obtain her birth control from a nearby Wal-Mart pharmacy. According to Kaisernetwork.org, Noesen refused to transfer the prescription to the Wal-Mart pharmacist, repeating that artificial contraception is against his religious beliefs. A spokesperson for the Department of Regulation and Licensing said last March that while pharmacists are allowed to refuse to fill prescriptions, they are required to transfer the prescription to a pharmacy where it can be filled. The Department has also said that Noesen had the duty as a licensed pharmacist to inform Phiede that she could obtain the pills from an emergency room.

The Associated Press quoted John Zweig, the Departments attorney, as saying, The additional risk of pregnancy should not have been imposed on her by someone else. Closing statements will be filed by lawyers for both parties in mid-November, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal, at which point Judge Colleen Baird will recommend sanctions to the states Pharmacy Examining Board.

According to the National Womens Law Center, three states Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Dakota have passed laws granting pharmacists the right to refuse to fill prescriptions if they have a religious objection.

2: Posted by: Red Wolf | March 28, 2005 11:49 PM

Oh, look, another one:

Feminist Daily News Wire
March 28, 2005
Women Protest Pharmacist's Refusal to Fill EC Prescriptions

A pharmacist's refusal to fill two prescriptions for emergency contraception (EC) on February 23 was the cause of a protest outside an Osco, Illinois drugstore last week. The protest, organized by Planned Parenthood, draws attention to a problem that is becoming increasingly widespread — that of pharmacists refusing to fill women's prescriptions for contraceptives because of what they cite as religious beliefs. Women should never be denied basic health care services by pharmacists who choose to impose their own beliefs on others, Steve Trombloy, president of the Chicago Area Planned Parenthood, told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Cases of refusals to fill prescriptions have been reported in at least 10 states, with some pharmacists refusing to even transfer the prescription to someone who is willing to fill it. Often these refusals are accompanied by demeaning and medically inaccurate lectures from the pharmacists. It's outrageous. It's sex discrimination. It prevents access to a basic form of health care for women, Rachel Laser of the National Women's Law Center (NWLC) told the Washington Post. According to the NWLC, four states currently have passed laws allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on religious beliefs, while four states have had legislation introduced that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.

The American Pharmacists Association's (APA) policy concerning objections to the filling of a prescription is to at all times ensure patient access to legally prescribed medications, according to the NWLC. Thus, a pharmacist should immediately transfer a prescription if he or she feels uncomfortable filling it. What we suggest, Susan Winckler, APA's vice president for policy and communications, told the Washington Post, is that [pharmacists] identify those situations ahead of time and have an alternative system set up so the patient has access to their therapy.

Pharmacists are regulated by individual state laws and licensing boards. Earlier this month, a judge ruled in the first case of a pharmacist refusing to fill a birth control prescription to be considered by a state's licensing board that Neil Noesen, a Wisconsin pharmacist, should be reprimanded for his actions.

While they may have a right to voice their objection to modern medicine, inflicting their narrow-minded beliefs on others is having serious consequences and these idiots should automatically lose their pharmacist's licence. I certainly don't see them crawling all over themselves to pay for the birth and upkeep of the children their ignorance has spawned.

3: Posted by: aeduna | March 30, 2005 12:13 AM

If he wasn't the only pharmacist in town, and posted signage at the front of the shop, I wouldn't have had a problem with his choice. I'd still think he was a moron though.

But you don't need to be a pharmacist to sell condoms — what about the local supermarket?

4: Posted by: Red Wolf | March 30, 2005 12:28 AM

While the local supermarket can help you with condoms, they can't sell prescription birth control or the morning-after pill and the nearest alternate chemist is 40km away. Getting up the courage to ask for the drugs in the first place is a tough call for teenagers, then adding the arrangement of transportation on top of the bargain with all the unwanted attention it would raise, starts to make it a tough position to be in.

I'd like to see this wally at least partially financially responsible for the children his beliefs helped create and see just how long he holds out on his idiotic stance.

5: Posted by: aeduna | March 30, 2005 11:06 PM

Yeah, I know — I was just wondering about other options too. (I wonder if he opposes selling the same drugs to help control menstrual cycles? or bad acne?)

Also, as a followup:

Sex shop has NSW town well covered

An American adult shop — which sent sex toys to Iraq as a publicity stunt two years ago — has now set its sights on the town of Merriwa in the NSW upper Hunter Valley.

The owners of the adult shop made worldwide headlines when it launched operation vibration in Iraq in 2003.

Playtime Boutique is sending 6,000 condoms to the town, care of the local mayor.

The company says although there is only 1,000 people in Merriwa, it wanted to make sure there were enough to go around after it was revealed the local pharmacy will not stock the product on ethical grounds.

Recent State Government figures reveal Merriwa has a 6 per cent pregnancy rate, nearly 5 per cent more than that of north Sydney.

The condoms are set to arrive in the next week.

6: Posted by: Red Wolf | March 31, 2005 2:35 AM

Thanks for digging that up. It just came through on a mailing list via another source, but the list isn't online and the company wasn't mentioned.

Found yet another mention of the damage caused by this fundie loon:

Sexually transmitted epidemic hits Hunter

The number of people with chlamydia in the Maitland area has almost tripled during the past four years leading to an epidemic of the sexually transmitted disease across the entire Hunter region.

NSW Health Department's notifiable diseases database shows 23 Maitland residents were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2000 compared with a staggering 60 notifications last year.

A total of 13 people have already been diagnosed with the STD in the past eight weeks.

There were no notifications of the disease in the Maitland area in 1996, 1997 and 1998 while eight people were diagnosed in 1999.

In the Hunter 315 people were diagnosed with chlamydia in 2000 compared with 975 last year.

This news follows yesterday's launch of a Statewide public education campaign to address increases in sexually transmitted infections and HIV.

The Safe Sex. No Regrets. campaign urges people to use condoms to help reduce their risk of diseases including chlamydia, syphilis and HIV.

Hunter New England Health public health physician Dr Craig Dalton said the amount of people with chlamydia in the Hunter has reached epidemic proportions causing great concern for the State's health professionals.

7: Posted by: Red Wolf | April 14, 2005 10:43 AM

It will come as a surprise to nobody that the moron mayor for the area has rejected the condoms:

The parcel arrived late last week but Upper Hunter Mayor Barry Rose says it has been returned to the sender.

"First of all we didn't think it was appropriate for council to become involved in this matter and secondly we didn't like the thought of a sleazy American sex shop operator getting involved in local affairs," he said.

Apparently you can only get involved in local affairs if you're a politician looking to suck up to the conservative members of society or you're a loony fundie pharmacy owner with screwed up morals. Doesn't sound like a great place to live with idiots like this loose in town.