Religious freedom? Or women's oppression?
We’ve all heard the horror stories from the US about women being turned away when trying to access contraception because their mental religious doctors or pharmacists have taken it upon themselves to decide what women should or shouldn’t do with their own bodies. But did you know the same thing happens here?
Not only do nearly a quarter of GPs outright refuse to refer women to abortion services, but pharmacists are completely free to refuse to prescribe “items that might clash with their personal religious beliefs.”
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is to take over the regulation of pharmacists later this year, and under its new code, pharmacists with strong religious principles will still be able to continue to refuse to sell or prescribe products if they feel that doing so would contradict their beliefs.
Err, what about women’s beliefs and choices about what we do with our own bodies? It’s a good question, and one Janine Deeley had to ask when her pharmacist recently refused to fill her prescription for the contraceptive pill.
I said it was not against my religion and I did not see why I should have to go to another chemist or come back at a later date for a different pharmacist to dispense it.
I was angry and I was confused.
Rightly so – it is infuriating, and very confusing! Pharmacists and doctors refusing to provide women with abortion services or emergency contraception is downright wrong, but this is a whole new level of mental… what is up with these people that want to stop women from preventing unwanted pregnancy in the first place? W. T. F?!