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Letter to the editor

Speak up against birth control bill

December 1, 2006

In the 2005 Wisconsin Legislative Session, a bill was proposed that would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription on his or her beliefs (SB 155 or AB 285). A variety of medication can be denied, including emergency contraception and other forms of birth control.

The Federal Drug Administration has approved emergency contraception as a safe and effective form of birth control. The American Medical Association provides evidence that emergency contraceptive is a preventative measure only and does not induce abortion.

Birth control is a basic health care right for women. Emergency contraception has a limited time frame (72 hours) after intercourse for when it can be used to prevent pregnancy. If pharmacists are allowed to deny these medications, the number of women seeking abortion services will likely increase. Sexual assault victims may have difficulty accessing emergency contraception in an environment where pharmacists can choose to dispense it.

Pharmacists are guided by the profession’s code of ethics to focus meeting clients’ needs, including her reproductive ones. Pharmacists should not be given the right to make moral judgments and scrutinize women’s personal reproductive health choices.

Personal medical decisions should be made between a woman and her doctor, regardless of the pharmacist’s religious or personal beliefs. Contact your local government representatives to let them know you believe pharmacists should stay out of personal medical decisions, and visit Planned

Parenthood or NARAL Pro- Choice of Wisconsin for more information.

Becky Pasterski
UW-Green Bay graduate student

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