TRANSCRIPT OF WASHINGTON POST INTERVIEW WITH PRO-LIFE PHARMACIST ANDREW EELLS, RPh, BS Pharm
Following are answers to your questions. Please advise when your article is published.
(Andrew Eells, BSP)
--How long has
your pharmacy been a pro-life pharmacy?
The pharmacy has been prolife by default since it opened in February 2007. By default because it serves a specialized patient population, and the question does not arise in this practice setting. The specialty is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. I personally have not dispensed abortifacient drugs since early 1984.
--What exactly does it mean in your case to be a pro-life pharmacy?
The practice of pharmacy should recognize and respect the human rights of preborn children. That precludes dispensing agents designed to violate those rights. For example, birth control pills, as one of their actions, deny a newly conceived child nutrition by preventing the child's attachment to the uterus.
--What made you
decide to be a pro-life pharmacy?
The decision was imposed by the very concept of human rights. We live in a country which declares the obligation of all to respect human rights. Our society proclaims that human rights are in fact inviolable. As a pharmacist, I am not proud to admit that I was dispensing birth control pills without understanding fully their effects. When I became aware that birth control pills can end the life of a conceived child, a fitting respect for the human rights of the child required that I discontinue dispensing the pills.
--What specific products do you not stock?
Since the question is not germane to this practice setting, I will respond with what I think it is intended to learn. I do not dispense products designed or prescribed to end the life of a human, before or after birth. In practical terms, these products are commonly referred to as birth control pills and "Plan B."
--Do you have signs up explaining this to customers?
This question also is not germane to my practice setting. However, I will offer an abstract observation. There are politically militant people currently demanding that such signs be mandated by regulatory agencies. I assert that it would be more appropriate for regulators to ban these products as violations of human rights. It borders on the bizarre that a society as well educated as ours, ostensibly dedicated to the dignity of human life, which has mapped the genome, and where scientific research continually elucidates our understanding of life from its very beginning - that this same society enters the political realm and pretends it doesn't know that a conceived child is a human. Human rights begin when human life begins. The rights derive from life, not from law. It remains for law to protect the rights.
--How do you
handle situations where customers come in seeking products you
do not stock?
While again a situation that does not apply to me, I will reply in principle, regarding the products at the focus of your inquiry. First I would explain why I do not dispense the product. This involves patient education about the product's action. Then I would offer referral for an alternative. Not an alternative provider, but an alternative therapy. For birth control pills, that would be instructors in natural family planning. For Plan B, that would be a crisis pregnancy center.
There is a school of thought that maintains a pharmacist who does not dispense abortifacients must refer patients to another provider who does dispense them. Please allow me to offer an analogy which illustrates why this position is illogical in the extreme. Consider the case of a mental health counselor treating a battered wife. She states she has had enough and has determined to obtain a gun and kill her husband.
That counselor would not act ethically by responding that conscience prevents helping her kill her husband, and then referring her to an individual who would provide the gun.
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