Pharmacists in Washington state have sued over a new regulation that requires them to dispense emergency contraception.
My first reaction to this news is to start cursing. But in all honesty, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise. Over-zealous religious pharmacists have long threatened to sue in the face of such a law. And the claim that one’s inability to discriminate against a set group of people is discriminating against their religious beliefs is ludicrous but hardly original.
And that’s what really scares me, here. Courts have a history of siding with the right to practice one’s crazy religious beliefs over the other human rights that might violated in the process. And for some blind reason, many people don’t recognize as discriminatory the refusal to dispense a drug that only the female portion of the population could ever need.
We can only hope that Washington judges are both liberal and intelligent enough to recognize that a pharmacist who refuses to do his or her job, a job that is a public service that the health of individuals relies upon, has relinquished the right to make his or her own rules. But these days, it seems a lot to ask. I, along with pharmacists and lawmakers all over the country, I presume, will be watching this case.