Pharmacist Conscientious Objection Laws Introduced in States, Not Approved

Conscientious objection laws, which would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill some prescriptions, have been introduced in almost half of all state legislatures this year, but none have been approved. The laws would allow pharmacists to operate on “moral or religious objections,” Kaiser reports; such protection could restrict access to drugs such as birth control.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 21 state legislatures considered passing conscientious objection laws this session; at the end of the 2006 regular session, however, none of these states had passed such laws. Most of the bills stalled in committee, but Madeline Kriescher, a research analyst for NCSL, said that anti-choice advocates expect similar legislation to be filed in the future, according to Kaiser.

Currently, four states (Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, and South Dakota) have laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill EC prescriptions. Four other states (Colorado, Florida, Maine, and Tennessee) have refusal laws that could encompass pharmacists’ refusal to fill prescriptions for contraceptives.


Kaiser 8/24/2006; The Washington Times 8/23/2006; National Conference of State Legislatures website 8/2006

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