Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill into law on Monday that gives pharmacists the right to deny women any drug that the pharmacist believes can cause an abortion. Critics have argued that the bill can give pharmacists the right to deny contraception or the morning after pill to women because under the law, pharmacists and doctors have broad power to deny any drugs that they “reasonably believe” could end a pregnancy. This is the fifth anti-abortion law that Brownback has signed since taking office last year.
The Kansas state Senate passed the bill earlier this month in a 23-16 vote. Under the law, individuals are not required to refer a patient to an abortion provider and they have the right to refuse to “participate in administering any drug they believe terminates a pregnancy.” Kansas state law since 1970 has given individuals the right to refuse to “perform or participate in an abortion procedure.”
Kansas is now the fifth state that allows pharmacists the right to deny medication based on a conscience clause. Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Dakota all have similar laws. Florida, Maine, and Tennessee also have refusal measures, but these do not specifically mention pharmacists.
The Wichita Eagle 5/14/12; AP 5/14/12; Feminist Daily Newswire 5/3/12