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Target Fires Pharmacist Due to Emergency Contraception Stance

A Missouri pharmacist was fired by Target over her refusal to fill or refer emergency contraception prescriptions. Williams had worked at Target for several years, but balked at Target’s insistence late last year that pharmacists agree to either fill such prescriptions or refer them elsewhere. Paula Gianino, executive director of the regional Planned Parenthood, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “Target has done everything possible to try to fill patients’ health-care needs and accommodate individual pharmacists.”

Williams’ lawyer, Ed Martin, has filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging religious discrimination, and is considering further lawsuits. Martin is also involved in the case of pharmacists in Illinois who lost their jobs for failing to comply with the state law requiring emergency contraception prescriptions be filled or referred.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported in a front page story that more than a dozen states are considering legislation to allow health care workers to refuse to provide health care that conflicts with their personal or religious beliefs. Most are broad proposals that would cover a variety of procedures, including in vitro fertilization, doctor-assisted suicide, and possibly even health care services for lesbian and gay patients. About half would allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception, the Post reports.

Sources:

Americans United for Life 1/26/06; Kaiser 1/30/06; St. Louis Post-Dispatch 1/26/06