Testimony of Karen Brauer, M.S., RPh*
House Bill 68 addresses the need for protecting a pharmacist's right
to choose to dispense only those drugs which promote life and health of
a patient. There is a long medical tradition admonishing the health care
professional to do no harm. This tradition codified most clearly in the
Hippocratic Oath has unfortunately been set aside by many. Others of us
wish to adhere to a practice of preserving and promoting human life.
A pharmacist, whether as employee or business owner, bears individual
clinical, legal, and moral responsibility for his or her dispensing
decisions. Authority to make the decisions needs to be protected.
Without this authority, the practice of pharmacy is untenable.
While it has proven possible to bring a legal defense of the
pharmacist's right to avoid killing humans, in the state of Ohio, it is
quite difficult. After being fired from K-Mart pharmacy in 1996, for
refusal to dispense an abortifacient birth control drug, I won the
opportunity to present my case in federal court. This procedure required
the benevolent assistance of the American Center for Law and Justice, a
public interest law firm. It should be mentioned that no local lawyers
felt that I had a case with a chance of success in the state of Ohio.
The usual pharmacist, after losing a job, does not have the funding to
initiate a legal battle which may extend for so many years as mine has
taken. Also the usual pharmacist might not be able to spend years of
effort, publicizing an issue on the internet until it attracts the
interest of the news media and the general public. It should not be
necessary, nor is it desirable, to assist in bringing about the
bankruptcy of a large corporation with so many employees, in order to
draw attention to an abrogation of those human rights which were
traditionally respected in the United States.
A clearly written law, protecting the dispensing authority of
pharmacists who choose not to kill will serve the needs of women who
deserve to be fully informed concerning their means of birth control. In
a state in which medical professionals are not expected to end human
life, women will understand that there is also not an expectation for
them to do the same. There will be incentive and opportunity to directly
address the problems of rape and sexual abuse, rather than to conceal
them by the various means of abortion. A clearly written law will help
to define the relationship of health care professionals and their
employers. An employer may continue to expect that an employee
pharmacist should bring profitability to the company, but not that he or
she kill in order to do so.
The prospect of being forced to participate in ending human life
serves as a deterrent for many capable people who would otherwise be
attracted to the health professions. A perceived shortage of providers
of chemical and surgical abortion is driving such organizations as NARAL
and Planned Parenthood to coerce participation by the unwilling. These
organizations also seek to protect their income stream by denying or
obfuscating the information about the birth control in question, which
is found in the physician package inserts of the drugs, and in the
At issue today are the rights of patients and medical professionals
who wish to avoid ending human life at any stage of development.
Patients deserve information and care from health care providers who are
free to avoid killing in their practice. This pharmacist is grateful to
Representative Keith Faber for introducing House bill 68, and urges the
support of this legislation by the Health Care Committee.
For your convenience and for paperwork reduction, pertinent review
articles from Archives of Family Medicine and The Annals of
Pharmacotherapeutics are linked at this internet location: