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The Dayton Daily News reports this morning that a Springfield, Ohio, woman has filed a complaint against Wal-Mart with the state as well as with an abortion rights group, charging that Wal-Mart workers “wouldn't give her morning-after contraceptive pills that don't require a prescription.”

“Tashina Byrd, 23, of Springfield, said the pharmacist ‘shook his head and laughed’ when a pharmacy attendant asked this month about giving the woman and her boyfriend Plan B. The hormone pills can help prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.” The attendant reportedly told the woman that the pills were in stock but that nobody would dispense them.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ruled that the so-called Plan B pill can be dispensed without a prescription to woman over the age of 18.

According to the paper, the pharmacist told the media that “he denied the couple's request for the contraceptive pills because ‘I do not believe in ending life, and life begins at conception.’

After the pharmacist turned them down, the woman and her boyfriend asked for a store manager who "came over and said, 'The pharmacist has the law on his side.’”

A Wal-Mart spokesman said that the company is investigating, and that corporate policy says that “any Wal-Mart worker who does not feel comfortable dispensing a product can refer customers to another pharmacist, pharmacy worker or sales associate.”
KC's View:
A pharmacy is a government-licensed entity. The government has said that the Plan B pill can be dispensed without a prescription if a person is older than 18. Like it or not, an individual pharmacist has a responsibility to operate within the law, not foist his or her personal morality on a customer.

If a pharmacist has a problem, then get someone else to do it. But if there is nobody else available, they still have to live within the law. Or get another job.

Wal-Mart’s responsibility here is to the customer and to the law. And it needs to be decisive in dealing with this event and the guy who decided his views were more important than the entirely legal views held by the customer.