BREAKING: The Biden admin told pharmacies around the country today that they could be in violation of civil rights laws if they refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception or abortion pills or other meds they speculate could be used for those purposes. Story TK…
— Alice Miranda Ollstein (@AliceOllstein) July 13, 2022
Here’s another directive sure to rile Arkansas Republican politicians though, as the writer notes:
The action is not a new policy, just a reminder of current law. It follows a wave of reports from around the country of patients being denied prescribed medication by pharmacists who thought it could be used to end a pregnancy.
Arkansas’s legislature last year passed and the governor signed a “conscience” law that allows health providers, including pharmacies, “the right to not participate in non-emergency treatments that violate their conscience.” What do you bet some people seeking service have been denied it thanks to this law.
I’ve asked Attorney General Leslie Rutledge if she’ll go to court on this one. I predict I’ll receive her boilerplate response that Biden’s directives are toothless. So why not get the law struck down?
The Arkansas law is not toothless. It’s life-threatening.
It is funny for Rutledge to talk about “toothless” directives when she, the Benton County prosecutor, Hutchinson’s health department and others took well-publicized steps to inform people they’d be enforcing the law banning abortion. I mean, it’s the law, right?
Incidentally, the growing evidence that Arkansas is a pariah state in many quarters for its cruelty toward women is illustrated in an article about academic conferences debating whether to avoid states with laws like Arkansas. There are practical considerations as well as philosophical. The article quoted Corinne Low, who organized opposition to a conference in New Orleans of her academic group.
Many of Low’s colleagues had been pregnant at conferences. One had serious complications that required time in a hospital. They wondered if going to a state with restrictions on abortion would create disincentives for doctors to act to save pregnant women or their future fertility.
“The difference between if a doctor has to say, ‘I have to have a 99-percent chance the patient will die without intervention before I’m allowed to act,’ versus being able to say, ‘In my best medical judgment, the best thing to do is to act here’ — that difference is enormous,” Low said.
And that difference is reality every day for every pregnant woman in Arkansas. Layer the “conscience” law on top of that.