National NOW Times >> Spring 2005 >> Article
Moral Pharmacists: No Birth Control Here, Just Sexism
By Leanne Libert, Managing Editor
In the year 2005, it's outrageous to see women's reproductive freedom would be in such grave danger. With a Supreme Court resignation looming and Republicans threatening to use the "nuclear option" to railroad extremist judicial nominees through the Senate, the future of Roe v. Wade looks shaky.
In April, the House passed anti-abortion legislation that endangers young women's health. In many states, that legislation would restrict the ability of a young woman to obtain an abortion outside of her home state (even if that's where the nearest clinic is located) by jailing any non-parent who helps her — even her sister or grandmother.
And the conservative attack on reproductive freedom doesn't stop with abortion. The Food and Drug Administration still hasn't made emergency contraception (EC) available over the counter, despite near-unanimous recommendations from two expert panels.
Furthermore, legislation in many states allows pharmacists to refuse to fill birth control and/or EC prescriptions if they say it goes against their "moral" convictions. Some pharmacists not only refuse to fill the prescription, but also confiscate their prescription slip, which prevents women from obtaining birth control from any other pharmacist.
There's something fishy about these pharmacists' so-called moral convictions. And once you begin to scratch the surface, you see it has nothing to do with morality, but something quite the opposite. Let's dig in and see what this "morality" banter is really all about.
In essence, condoms are a form of birth control, just not the kind designed for women's use that requires a doctor's prescription.
So why aren't these pharmacists with moral convictions up in arms over the sale of condoms? Condoms do essentially the same thing the birth control pill does. A condom stops sperm from fertilizing an egg. The birth control pill stops a woman from ovulating, leaving no egg to be fertilized. When you look at it that way, it's hard to see why these moral pharmacists have a problem with birth control pills, but not condoms. It's because this has nothing to do with morality, but everything to do with sexism and controlling women.
The anti-choice agenda really has nothing to do with moral convictions over the sanctity of life. I've come to think that the so-called pro-life movement's concerns end at birth, since most "pro-lifers" don't advocate for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, universal healthcare or raising the minimum wage — all of which could help improve the quality of life for millions of people in the U.S. The pro-life agenda is less about preserving the sanctity of life and more about oppressing women.
So we, the women's movement, must continue to do our part each and every day to debunk the morality myth and expose their agenda for what it is — discrimination against women. Use the comparison above about condoms and the pill. It's so simple that any rational person will understand. Yet somehow the simplicity of the discussion has been lost in the "culture of life" rhetoric conservative leaders promote, but it's time for us to take the rhetoric back.
Let's give this country a wake-up call. We, the women's movement, are committed to preserving a culture of life for every woman in this world and we won't let them forget it.
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