Protection of Conscience Project
Protection of Conscience Project
Service, not Servitude

Service, not Servitude

Testimony of Pharmacist Re: Wisconsin Assembly Bill 63

Before the Assembly Labour Committee, 5 March, 2003

Neil Noesen, R.Ph.
Wisconsin license #13021-40

As a pharmacist highly dedicated to the advancement of the profession of pharmacy practice, I express my strong support for Representative Owen's Assembly Bill 63. I am a native born Wisconsinite, a University of Wisconsin - Madison graduate, and a proud holder of a license to practice pharmacy in the state of Wisconsin.

With a license to practice pharmacy in the state of Wisconsin, I have been allowed the great privilege to offer pharmaceutical care for the sick. This great privilege comes with great responsibility. I take my responsibility to care, my duty to care, very seriously.

This sense of duty is shared amongst all of us Wisconsin pharmacists. We first have the duty to do no harm. Then, the duty to do good. Finally, there remains an ethical imperative for the recognition of the individual autonomy of the patient as well as the recognition of the professional autonomy of the practitioner.

Just as it is unethical for us to force our patients who are adults to adhere to a drug regimen, so is it also unethical to force practitioners to participate in specific actions involving what they believe would be a cooperation with abortions, assisted suicides, and euthanasia. Assembly Bill 63 recognizes this professional autonomy and upholds the dignity and worth that we all share in our common humanity.

Some of us pharmacists practicing in Wisconsin have certain objections to involvement in drug therapy that we believe could cause an abortion such as the morning after pill. Some of us may also object to specific cases, in which after consulting with the prescriber, we believe that a certain drug regimen would be used to cause the death of an individual rather than to have a comforting effect as its primary goal of therapy.

Assembly Bill 63 is specific to these cases outlined above and would simply be giving legal recognition to the professional autonomy that we already hold as pharmacists. This legislation is vital to the recognition of our professional autonomy, vital to facilitating arrangements of accommodations that are reasonable between pharmacists and their employers, and vital to the advancement of our practice of pharmacy in the state of Wisconsin. Let's keep moving forward.

Kindly consider supporting this necessary and long overdue piece of legislation.