Saturday, April 16, 2005

Depravitive logic

First things first: Mike Tidmus is brilliant! Pam Spaulding knows how to pick 'em.

OK, now on to the topic at hand. . .

Jessica at Bush v Choice posted some info about a bill co-sponsored by Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Carolyn Moloney (D-NY). According to Reuters, the bill would require would require pharmacies to fill all prescriptions (including regular and emergency contraceptives). While the intention is good because as described by the article and reading the text quite literally it didn't seem practical or feasible. Not every pharmacy carries every medication (let alone all formulations of every medication), etc. so I decided the logical thing to do was to go to Thomas & check the actual language of the bill. What I found was HR 1539, a proposed amendment to the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 238 et seq.) with the addition of the following Section [emphasis added]:


(a) In General- A pharmacy may not receive any prescription drug in interstate commerce unless the pharmacy maintains compliance with the following requirements:

(1) If a pharmacist employed by the pharmacy
refuses to fill a valid prescription for a drug on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions, the pharmacy ensures that the prescription is promptly filled by another pharmacist employed by the pharmacy , not to exceed four hours after such refusal.

(2) The pharmacy does not employ any pharmacist who--

with the intent to prevent a patient from filling a valid prescription for a drug, refuses to return an unfilled prescription to the patient, or to transfer an unfilled prescription to another pharmacy at the request of that pharmacy ; or

(B) engages in any other conduct with such intent, other than the conduct described in paragraph (1).

(b) Employment Authority of Pharmacy - Subsection (a)(1) does not affect the authority of a pharmacy to employ a pharmacist or to terminate the employment of a pharmacist.

(c) Enforcement-

(1) CIVIL PENALTY- A pharmacy that violates a requirement of subsection (a) is liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not exceeding $100,000 for all violations litigated in a single civil action.

(2) PRIVATE CAUSE OF ACTION- A person aggrieved as a result of a violation of a requirement of subsection (a) may, in any court of competent jurisdiction, commence a civil action against the pharmacy involved to obtain appropriate relief, including actual and punitive damages, injunctive relief, and a reasonable attorney's fee and cost.

(3) LIMITATIONS- A civil action under paragraph (1) or (2) may not be commenced against a pharmacy after the expiration of the five-year period beginning on the date on which the pharmacy allegedly engaged in the violation involved.

(d) Definitions- For purposes of this section:

(1) The term `pharmacist' means a person licensed by a State to practice pharmacy , including the dispensing and selling of prescription drugs.

(2) The term `pharmacy' means a person who--

(A) is licensed by a State to engage in the business of selling prescription drugs at retail; and

(B) employs one or more pharmacists.

(3) The term `prescription drug' means a drug that is subject to section 503(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

(4) The term `valid', with respect to a prescription, means a prescription within the meaning of section 503(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that is in compliance with applicable law, including, in the case of a prescription for a drug that is a controlled substance, compliance with regulations under section 309 of the Controlled Substances Act (part 1306 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, or successor regulations).'.

(b) Effective Date- The amendment made by subsection (a) takes effect upon the expiration of 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, without regard to whether the Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued any guidance or final rule regarding such amendment.

Lautenberg stated that if a pharmacy stocks and fills prescriptions for Viagra, they should also stock and fill contraceptive agents as well. The key word is should. The amendment does not apear to require all pharmacies to stock all medications inlcuding contraceptives; it just appears to require those that do to fill prescriptions for them in a timely fashion when dispensation of the medication is denied/held up due to the personal views of the pharmacist on duty. It also requires a pharmacist to return or transfer an unfilled prescription when the pharmacy does not stock a medication (or that medication is out of stock and the patient wants to get it filled immediately).

The reaction from Karen Brauer, President of Pharmacists for Life, is beyond laughable. She thinks pharmacists who believe hormonal contraception is abortion need legislation to protect them (ostensibly from complicity in sin) and claims doctors will start ordering women to abort diabled children and/or refuse to treat them. According to Brauer: "They'll force women to kill their children ... It will be like China. It's the next logical step." After reading Brauer's comments, I think I now understand where the hysteria and extremism come from in the Anti-Choice/Anti-Gay crowd. These folks have no common sense and rely on some weird-ass logic based inability to use reason (heretofor called "depravitive logic"). Do they really believe the next logical step from preventing pregnancy is infanticide? Just because she would start killing infants and toddlers if she practiced birth control, doesn't mean everyone else is unable to apply linear (or even abstract) logic that's based on rational thought. The religious right may make these outlandish leaps of "logic" (they also appear to be fixated on banning all things homosexual as it stirs their urge to commit beastiality), but most people take reasonable steps in their logic.

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