The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


Minh N. Nguyen


The decades long pro-life and pro-choice debate recently broadened to now include controversy over reproductive contraception. This controversy stems from doctors refusing to participate in abortion procedures and other healthcare providers, such as pharmacists, declining to fill prescriptions for oral and emergency contraceptives. Pharmacists all over the United States claim religious and moral grounds for refusing to fill prescriptions from doctors and hospitals. This religious fundamentalism creates more than a minor inconvenience for women. The oral and emergency contraceptives in question include birth control pills and the morning after pill, both of which inhibit a woman’s ability to get pregnant. Pro-life activists voice their concerns about emergency contraceptives like the morning after pill, but these contraceptives are not effective if the woman is already pregnant. The main point of contention revolves around at what point life begins. Pro-life activists believe life begins at conception, which is why they dislike emergency contraceptives such as the morning after pill. Pro-choice advocates believe pharmacists have a duty to dispense drugs lawfully prescribed to individuals by their physicians. Patients expect healthcare providers to act in their best interest, even if that interest is contrary to the healthcare providers’ beliefs. New legislation offers protection to those healthcare providers who wish to refuse service based on religious beliefs or moral grounds. This development has a disparate effect on women because no healthcare provider refuses to provide condoms or impotence drugs to men. If pharmacists continue to violate women’s rights, no autonomic decision is left sacred to individuals.

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St. Mary's University School of Law



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