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The Minnesota Daily

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Interim President Jeff Ettinger inside Morrill Hall on Sept. 20, 2023. Ettinger gets deep with the Daily: “It’s bittersweet.”
Ettinger reflects on his presidency
Published April 22, 2024

Over the top or over the counter

Pharmacists with moral qualms should consider other lines of employment.

A protest took place Wednesday in front of the Target store on Nicollet Mall. Planned Parenthood and other women’s rights activists wanted to speak out against recent pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception and birth control pills.

This is just a small part of a large problem. Events such as these are happening all over the country, being voiced by women more and more since 2002. These pharmacists say the morning-after pill is against their beliefs or that it just isn’t right. These decisions can affect the rest of a woman’s life and her family’s. In a health care career, one should be obligated to keep patients’ health needs as top priority. If these pharmacists are going to allow their own moral standards to guide their prescription-filling practices, they should get new jobs.

The larger problem? Women should be able to get birth control pills, as well as morning-after pills, without a prescription. Men can walk into a pharmacy, or a gas station bathroom for that matter, to get the supplies they need to keep themselves healthy. There is no struggle at all, and when men do choose to use condoms, it is highly accepted by society.

Women, on the other hand, have to go to their doctor and then to a pharmacist. Because emergency contraception has to be taken within 70 hours after intercourse, finding an open and willing pharmacy quickly is necessary. When pharmacists allow themselves to choose whether to fill these prescriptions, women are given the impression that they are doing something wrong and should be ashamed. All women are really doing is trying to protect themselves.

As for the morning-after pill, opponents feel that if it is made legal, women will abuse it by becoming careless about sex because they have an easy erase-all-your-mistakes pill to take in the morning. With easier access to the pill, use of it will obviously increase, but what woman doesn’t take her sexual health seriously enough to place dependence on this single method?

Denying over-the-counter access to birth control pills and emergency contraception is denying women the right to take responsibility for their own bodies, and gives that responsibility to a pharmacist.

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