Donald W. Herbe


The purpose of this Note is not to argue for or against either the pro-life or pro-choice positions. The purpose of this Note is to shed light on a serious moral dilemma that faces many pharmacists today, to call for universal acceptance in the pharmacy profession of a right of conscience, and to suggest adequate state and national legislative measures that would protect and prevent pharmacists from having to act contrary to their basic moral convictions. Section I provides background regarding present day abortive and contraceptive drug therapies and the role of the pharmacist in providing such medications. Section II is presented to provide some perspective and background as to moral belief regarding abortion and emergency contraception (EC) and how such a belief may conflict with a pharmacist's professional duties. The discussion of the tension between moral and professional duties illustrates that the beliefs regarding abortion and EC of the pharmacists who chooses conscience over professional duty are genuinely fundamental and deserve respect. Section III illustrates the detrimental consequences that choosing conscience could wreak. Section IV sheds light on the inadequacy of current common and statutory law that could feasibly protect the pharmacist's moral convictions from retaliation or liability. Finally, Section V proposes that professional pharmaceutical organizations lead the way to recognizing a true right of conscience which would eventually result in universal legislation protecting against all potential ramifications of choosing conscience.