In Kansas, your local neighborhood drug store pharmacist can now refuse to fill your doctor-issued contraception prescription, or any drug he or she thinks might be used to terminate a pregnancy, or be used in conjunction with pregnancy termination, all on the grounds of “religious liberty” and “conscience protection.” Not only that, but anyone who ”reasonably believes” a drug prescription they are filling or “reasonably believes” an action they are taking — say, administering a drug — might result in the termination of a pregnancy is allowed to refuse under Republican Governor Sam Brownback‘s new law.
The so-called “Health Care Rights of Conscience Act,” which curiously exists in several states under the same name (perhaps an ALEC creation?), applies to pharmacists and even nurses and doctors — anyone who is related to the process of pregnancy termination. The drugs could include both abortion-inducing medications, and even emergency contraception like the so-called “morning-after pill,” but also could include drugs used for life-saving reasons — the pharmacist would only have to trust their gut, not the doctor’s orders.
They argued that the law puts pharmacists and physicians in a position to refuse birth control and that it will affect many women, especially those in small towns and rural communities since the health provider wouldn’t be required to provide a referral somewhere else.
This is the fifth bill restricting abortion that Brownback has signed since taking office.
Last year, the Republican governor signed bills requiring new licensing criteria for abortion clinics and requiring parental consent for juveniles to get an abortion.
Brownback also signed a bill banning insurance coverage of abortion and another one that tightened limits on late-term abortion.
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