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Protection of Conscience Project

Service, not Servitude
Legal Commentary

Re: Ohio House Bill 68

Testimony before Ohio House Health Committee
May, 2004

Testimony of Robert Garbe, R.Ph.

Chairman White and members of the House Health Committee, thank you for allowing me to testify today on House Bill 68, the Pharmacists Conscience Clause legislation. My name is Robert Garbe, and I am a pharmacist with 43 years experience in the practice of pharmacy. My professional background includes: patent holder of a unit dose medication delivery system, owner of an independent pharmacy, supervisor in a manufacturing pharmacy, and for the last ten years community pharmacy practice for a large retail chain. I hope to continue working for many more years.

I support H.B. 68, sponsored by Representative Keith Faber, because I will most likely lose my job if I follow my conscience and not fill a prescription that will kill a baby. There is an unwritten rule that if I do not satisfy the customer's legal requests I will place my employment in serious jeopardy. I have never before been in the position of this moral dilemma in the years of my pharmacy practice.

This is important to pharmacists because we spend a considerable portion of our work day evaluating, advising and subsequently preventing harmful medication from reaching pregnant or potentially pregnant women. We are consistently being questioned by customers concerning safety for the baby when using over the counter medication to treat the mother's illness.

My personal belief (as is the belief of many of my colleagues) is that killing of the innocent life in the womb is every bit as heinous as the killing of the "Undesirables" by Nazis in the 1940's Germany and Poland. To require and intimidate me with regulations that will terminate my livelihood if I "do not go along" is as reprehensible as it must have been to the guards who ushered the Innocent into the gas chambers. Excuses like "It is just my job" cannot be good enough to participate in this killing of life. Please prevent this dilemma that many pharmacist like myself face. In these hearings considerable testimony has been given to advocate for the woman. Who, if not the pharmacist, will speak for the baby in the womb?

Thank you very much: I hope that you will favorably report H.B. 68 from this committee. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.



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