Friday, July 10, 2009

Change of Plans

According to this article from Religion Clause Blogspot, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction (preliminary) that a federal district court in Washington state entered enjoining enforcement of the regulations requiring Washington pharmacists to fill all prescriptions, to include Plan B, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs. The Appeals Court applied the Rational Basis test in reaching its decision. For those unschooled in what that means, it means that the law is presumptively valid and the burden is on the challenger to show that there is not a legitimate state interest being affected. In this case, the legitimate state interest is the dispensing of drugs labeled safe for use by the FDA, as well as approved for use in the State of Washington for use by the citizens.

The challenge was brought by some pharmacists in the state, who argued that this law, mandating the dispensing of pharmaceutical drugs that they disapproved of, violated their religious beliefs. This, of course, is tripe. The state is not forcing the movants to dispense the drugs, rather, the state is saying (in essence) "if you want to be a pharmacist, then you must dispense the drugs that we say are allowed to be dispensed. If you don't want to do so, then don't be a pharmacist." In other words, you have to take the bitter with the sweet.

There is a very simple remedy for those pharmacists who truly feel a religious opposition to this, namely, they can stop being pharmacists. That's the beauty of capitalism - they can take whatever job they want, free of government interference. Of course the pay might be a bit lower than the $116,000+ Median salary of a pharmacist in Lakewood, WA, but at least you can rest with a clear conscience.

Understand, I am not making light of their religious beliefs. I completely understand that there are those who truly believe that their religion precludes them from assisting with Plan B or other contraceptive measures, and I respect that. That does not, however, mean that there is an automatic injury because the state is requiring one job to provide said contraceptives.

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