The ‘Uber for birth control’ expands in conservative states, opening a new front in war over contraception

Stat

Max Blau

It’s a telemedicine app that seems rather innocuous — enter your info, have it reviewed by a physician, and get a prescription. The California-based company behind it has raised millions to support its mission of expanding access to the pill, ring, or morning-after pill with minimal hurdles.

But that last option is now starting to attract pushback from anti-abortion activists, who consider the morning-after pill equivalent to abortion — and who say lax telemedicine laws are enabling access to this drug with insufficient oversight.

Nurx, an app that’s been called the “Uber for birth control,” lets patients obtain a variety of contraceptives from the touch of a smartphone; it also gives women access to Plan B and Ella, two forms of the morning-after pill, which is effective in preventing a pregnancy after sex. Women can order these drugs in a few easy steps: answer a series of health questions; provide basic demographic information; and choose a preferred drug. A doctor then reviews the patient’s information, writes a prescription, and the drug is delivered to either the patient’s home or her local pharmacy. . .  [Full text]

 

Italian Doctors Abort a Law

Interpress Service News Agency

Silvia Giannelli

ROME, Apr 5 2014 (IPS) – Two out of three doctors in Italy are ‘conscientious objectors’ to abortion, according to new data. The Italian Ministry of Health reveals that in 2011, 69.3 percent of doctors refused to carry out abortions, with peaks of over 85 percent in some regions.

In the face of such numbers, the ruling of the European Committee of Social Rights of the Council of Europe against Italy earlier this month over a complaint for violating the right to protection of health came as no surprise.

“The Italian situation really worries us, and this is why we filed the complaint,” Irene Donadio, advocacy officer at the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF_EN) told IPS. “We believe that there is a problem with the functioning and application of the abortion law, which, in fact, would be a good law but is often violated.

“We acknowledge the fact that the right to conscientious objection is included in the same law, but the right of women to access a service that is legal and fundamental for their health needs to be respected as much as this right.” [Full Text]

Equality legislation used to defend conscientious objection to abortion

 (United Kingdom: 2011)

  • John Smeaton* | The two nurses . . .were employed at a hospital for ordinary nursing duties. They were then allocated to work once a week at an abortion clinic in the hospital. The abortion process did not involve surgical abortion but the increasingly common process of “early medical abortion” . . .When they became aware that they were participating in abortion they told their management that they did not want to continue but were then told that they had no choice in the matter. . . Full Text

Conscientious Objectors Behind the Counter: Statutory Defenses to Tort Liability for Failure to Dispense Contraceptives

1 St. Louis U. J. Health L. & Pol’y 337, 337-40 (2008)

Jennifer E. Spreng

Introduction:  The United States Food and Drug Administration’s decisions in the past decade to approve both RU-486 and Plan B have created crises of conscience for some religious pharmacists. RU-486 induces abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy without surgical intervention and Plan B is a two-pill “emergency contraceptive” regimen that may have abortifacient properties. Some religious pharmacists prefer not to dispense the drugs because their religious scruples forbid them from participating in abortions.  Some also object to dispensing daily oral contraceptives6 on the same basis. [Full Text]

Testimony of pharmacist re: Wisconsin Assembly Bill 63

Wisconsin
Before the Assembly Labour Committee

 Susan Grosskreuz, R.Ph.

Although there is an extremely high demand for pharmacists in our state, I have had to be very selective as to where I am willing to work because I cannot go against my conscience. . . Although pharmacy jobs in the retail sector were generally plentiful . . . I accepted a position at a newly created pharmacy . . .that served only nursing home patients. . . . I actually would have preferred working in the retail sector but I didn’t feel I had any protection if I requested to refrain from filling prescriptions that had abortifacient potential. [Full Text]

Crisis at Philadelphia Hospital

Highlights The Violation Of Women’s Rights Due To Mismanagement Of Our Health System

NEWS RELEASE

EMBARGO: Immediate Release Date: 26 June 2002

Doctors for Life International

Doctors For Life (DFL), an organisation of about 770 doctors, places the blame for the lack of staff to support women having abortions at Philadelphia hospital, squarely on the shoulders of the South African government. Before the government bulldozed the law to legalise abortion on demand through Parliament, DFL warned via numerous press releases that the infrastructure to implement the law does not exist.

Firstly, there were not enough doctors and nursing staff who did not have conscientious objection against assisting with abortions. The government ignored us even when this fact was repeated in our submissions  before the Select Committee on Abortion in Parliament.

Secondly, the lack of sonographic equipment to determine the gestational age of the unborn baby before an abortion made a mockery of the legislation (the law allowed abortion for a certain gestational age for different reasons).

The biggest survey ever done amongst doctors showed that more than 80% of South African doctors are against abortion on demand. The government was fully aware of this attitude when they forced the members of the ANC to vote against their consciences in support of “Termination of Pregnancy”. They should therefore not be surprised when only 5 of the 27 hospitals in Mpumalanga have staff who are willing to take part in abortions.

In what appears to be a hypocritical move, the government seems concerned when women in the Carte Blanche programme had to deliver their own aborted babies, while the Department of Health is busy introducing the abortion pill (RU486) which will have the same result of causing women to abort at home.

DFL also had special meetings with the Health Professionals Council of South Africa where we explained the  dilemma of pro-life health professionals. We mentioned that it strikes us as unethical that some health professionals are prescribing abortifacients and then tell the patient to go to a hospital, manned by pro-life staff, to have the abortion completed. This appeared like a strategy to force unwilling, ethically sound health professionals to take part in killing one patient (the unborn child) at the request of another (the mother). It boiled down to a doctor starting the procedure and then referring the patient for the “mopping up” of the procedure to pro-life staff.

It is a well-known fact amongst nursing staff that doctors list abortions as sterilisation procedures on theatre lists. Once the staff is in the theatre, scrubbed and half way through the procedure, they discover that the doctor is doing an abortion.

DFL therefore calls upon the government to accept responsibility for the dilemma women find themselves in. Something should be done about the pressure on health workers to take part in the abortion procedure.  The public should be well informed if a certain clinic/hospital is unwilling to perform abortions. Once a hospital is identified as an abortion provider, the Department of Health must make sure that there are enough pro-abortion staff to render a 24 hour service, 7 days a week.

It must, however, be stated once again that health professionals do have the constitutional right NOT to  participate in ANY part of the abortion procedure.


Enquiries: Dr Jay Mannie (Dep. CEO) Mobile phone: +27(0)83 6414 382

B.C. Pharmacist representing “conscientious objectors” at AGM wins substantial support from colleagues

News Release

Concerned Pharmacists for  Conscience in BC

A resolution that would allow pharmacists to opt out of dispensing morally controversial products such as the Morning After Pill gained substantial support from pharmacists at the AGM of B.C. Pharmacists on October 12th.

A number of pharmacists took to the microphone to voice their strong support; only one pharmacist spoke in opposition. Although the preliminary show-of -hands vote was not won, supporters of the resolution do not see this as a defeat, but simply as a sign that more work needs to be done.

At best, the current Code of Ethics for pharmacists acknowledges that some members may run into moral dilemmas, but does not provide accommodation for conscientious objectors.

“It is ironic that the B.C. Health Minister wants to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies while our Premier wants pharmacists to give out the morning after pill like candy. Scientifically, this is an abortion causing drug developed primarily to act against implantation of a live human embryo in vivo. It is a product that professional pharmacists may refuse to dispense for medical, ethical reasons, or on moral or religious grounds, not to mention liability concerns and the possibility of having angry parents of teenagers coming after us. We still do not know long -term effects of repeated use of the morning after pill, but we do know that these high doses of hormones have been strongly linked to breast cancer. We will be using our young women as guinea pigs,” says Cristina Alarcon, British Columbia representative for a group called Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience.

” Regardless of where you stand on the moral issues surrounding abortifacient use, pharmacists who do not wish to participate must be respected and should not be FORCED to refer”, says Alarcon.

Miss Alarcon made the opening remarks at the AGM in support of the resolution that would recognize a pharmacist’s right to refuse a prescription on moral grounds.

” Conscientious objectors simply want to exercise the right to not participate in morally objectionable treatments and the right to freedom of conscience in matters that pertain to morals and religion in accordance with Canadian Human Rights jurisprudence. We do not claim to have a monopoly on the profession, and we are not blocking access nor infringing on a patient’s ” right to choose”. Furthermore, with the dawn of ever more controversial “treatments”, such as euthanasia,

RU-486, genetic manipulation , and execution (as referred to in our Mar/Apr College bulletin), health care workers are in greater need of Conscience Clause Legislation in this country. This is what I am fighting for,” she continues; “If we are to act in the public’s best interests, we must act freely and responsibly, and not as coerced automatons as our College currently mandates, nor as dispensing machines.

For further information, please call Miss Cristina Alarcon, at 604-222-8317 or at 604-974-0993 ext. 1232

Canada Safeway orders pharmacists to dispense abortifacients

In a policy statement that included reference to dispensing euthanasia drugs, RU486 and the ‘morning after pill’, Canada Safeway advised pharmacists who have conscientious objections to dispensing certain drugs that they would be required to do so if a non-objecting pharmacist was not available.