The Healthcare Rights of Conscience Act, H sub 62, was signed it into law last Friday by Gov. Sam Brownback. The law is basically a modest update of a conscience law Kansas has had on the books since 1969. Seven other states have similar protective laws.
The new law will provide job loss protection for medical practitioners who might otherwise be penalized for refusing abortion involvement, and provides protection from lawsuits against medical facilities which do not perform or refer for abortions.
Courts have consistently ruled that the legalization of abortion in the Roe v Wade ruling does NOT simultaneously require that practitioners must perform abortions. Under this law, refusing to make abortion referrals or to fill prescriptions for abortion-inducing drugs will be explicitly protected.
It is a medical fact that abortion takes a human life. The right to refuse is based on the first amendment right to exercise one’s conscience. That evaluation may or may not be based on religious tenets.
Unfortunately, a misleading story from CJOnline, wrongly interprets rights of conscience as a “Catholic thing”. The reporter then proceeds to misstate official Catholic teaching on abortion and birth control while featuring an alternative Catholic researcher who denies what all contraceptive package inserts confirm–the arbortifacient action of contraceptives to inhibit implantation.
The CJOnline story also conforms to the mainstream media template to examine pro-life laws –not as saving lives or upholding dignity– but rather as to how they “imperil” women’s reproductive rights. In this case, the storyline is that birth control will be unacceptably withheld. However, following the online article, in the comments section, is this sensible response:
“Talk about a tempest in a teapot!!! This [law] is not going to keep any person from gaining access to birth control or to Plan B. All this is doing is allowing those who work in a pharmacy or a medical office to follow their personal moral dictates and refuse to prescribe or sell these two classes of drugs. Whether Plan B can result in the “legal definition” of abortion or not a valid point as far as I am concerned. Since the Plan B is supposed to be used within 24 hours of the sexual activity, then the egg and sperm have not been implanted in the uterus, BUT if fertilization has occurred, then Plan B will more than likely make that fertilization inviable [sic].
I worked in a pharmacy for 12 years, and when Plan B became available as an OTC medication, we were asked to sign a statement as to whether or not selling Plan B would go against our personal beliefs. Myself and a Pharmacist both stated that it was against our beliefs to sell it. Nothing was EVER said to a customer and no customer, to my knowledge was EVER denied access to BC or Plan B. We simply allowed another employ (sic) to handle the sale.
Let’s not get our knickers in a bunch over something that has been being handled unofficially for several years now, without inconvenience or denial of service to anyone as far as I can tell.”