Pope Urges Pharmacists to Refuse to Dispense Contraceptives

Pope Benedict XVI on Monday urged a conference of Catholic pharmacists to avoid dispensing emergency contraception or euthanasia drugs by being conscientious objectors. He went on to tell the attendees that they should inform patients of the ethical implications of using such drugs, reports the Associated Press. The pharmacists were in the Vatican for the 25th International Congress of Catholic Pharmacists.

The issue is also coming to a head in Chile. Sale of the morning-after pill was authorized there last year under the Bachelet government, but the country”s three largest drug store chains were still not stocking the emergency contraceptive. The chains claimed they could not buy the drug locally, but the government fined them for not complying. Meanwhile, the government took this excuse away by importing doses of the emergency contraceptive that the chains can buy, reports the International Herald Tribune.

One of the drug store chains issued a statement calling the emergency contraceptive “abortive” and expressing “conscientious objection” to selling it. Deputy Health Minister Lidia Amarales, warned on Monday that “the health code allows us to even close a pharmacy” for refusing to sell the morning-after pill.


Associated Press 10/29/07; Reuters 10/30/07; International Herald Tribune 10/30/07

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