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Not entirely scientific

Hypothetical situation.

A and B are pharmacists. A chooses to not fill a prescription for birth control products out of moral objection, as she is a Christian. B chooses not to fill a prescription for antidepressants out of moral objection because she is a Scientologist.

Should they be given the same protection under the law?


Should their employment be protected by law at all?




( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 22nd, 2008 05:44 pm (UTC)
No seriously, how on EARTH would a Christian Scientist become a pharmacist? Why would she do that? I think you can build a better straw man that that, Rob.

What sort of qualifications are currently necessary to be a pharmacist? If this is, as I suspect, something like the stupid way in which coroners were not required to know much about medicine or biology or even law, I wonder if it is possible that the system CAN self-regulate. In that instance it self-corrected (largely, more difficult to do so in poor or sparsely populated places,) by local governing bodies requiring a medical examiner instead of a coroner. MEs have required education and bodies of professional peers. Which I suppose still isn't the same as being held accountable to the government, gross negligence can result in removal of credentials as well as removal from office. Something like, but not really the same, of course; no one appoints pharmacists.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 05:55 pm (UTC)
Scientologist vs. Christian Scientist.

Not so much a Scientologist becoming a pharmacist, but a pharmacist becoming a scientologist. Similarly a pharmacist becoming Christian.

The compare-and-contrast is not so much about the self-regulation of the system, but the consideration of what would be an "acceptable" stance for refusal to fill a 'scrip; for instance would it be morally acceptable for a Christian but not a Scientologist, and if so, why?

Straw man perhaps.

There are different levels of pharmacy help. To work in a pharmacy does not require any medical or legal expertise, but to actually be a pharmacist and dispense medications requires a license.

To practice pharmacy, a license is required. Licensure requires graduation from an accredited pharmacy degree program, passage of a State board examination, possession of a specified amount of practical experience, or an internship under the supervision of a licensed Pharmacist. Internships
generally are served in a community or hospital pharmacy.

At least five years of study beyond high school are required to graduate from one of the degree programs accredited by the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education. Five years are needed to obtain a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, the degrees received by most graduates. Depending upon a student's educational background, six or seven
years are required for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Sep. 22nd, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
OK, I can take your point about the likelihood of a change of faith happening to someone already in the system of dispensary. Maybe he fell in love, or was deeply moved by the death of a close one, or something. Or foxhole faith, or what have you. (Also, Scientology is a far better suggestion, since they do indeed proselytize, though I don't think Christian Scientists do.)

This conundrum reminds me of the one in which Target really wanted to be able to have intro level jobs available to Muslim applicants, though the most strictly religious of them were compelled not to handle credit card transactions due to a restriction of money lending for profit. Their solution was elegant, I think: have the customer swipe the card, but still have a checking clerk otherwise available for helping the purchasing process.

Could you please elaborate a bit more on what you mean by "employment protected by law"? Do you mean that they couldn't be fired or not hired based on religion?

I think ultimately it will probably matter more who owns the pharmacy and whom they decide to hire. If and when WalMart is the only pharmacy in a 50 mile drive, and they prefer to hire only pharmacists who don't approve of dispensing certain kinds of medications, that is a gross injustice. It ought to be prevented. It's kind of too bad that the whole "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" isn't actually in the Constitution instead of the Declaration.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
There has been some consideration by legislators to make it illegal to terminate (for instance) pharmacists who refuse to dispense prescriptions for medications that they feel are immoral (as in abortifacients), as it would be theoretically termination for religious beliefs.

I don't think it could really work, because the termination isn't for the religious belief, but for the act of refusal to perform a stated duty of the job. Doesn't stop some folks from trying.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
It shouldn't be too hard to write an employment contract which specifies that the dispensary staff must be able to dispense any medicines prescribed.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Didn't the original post specify Christian, rather than Christian Scientist? Which are very different things? Or did I miss a subsequent edit?
Sep. 22nd, 2008 09:45 pm (UTC)
Scientologist, not Christian Scientist. The faith isn't important, I just picked on Scientology because of the beilef that antidepressants (and other brain-altering chemicals) are morally wrong.

Trying to get at the differentiation between what's okay in one faith being not okay in another, and the slippery slope beyond the doorway that is opened by such conceptory predation.
Sep. 22nd, 2008 10:56 pm (UTC)
No; I saw the Scientologist, and the Christian, and I get the illustrative contrast. I'm wondering where "Christian Scientist" came from, and why someone inserting an example you didn't use into your argument somehow means that you committed the strawman fallacy...?
Sep. 22nd, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC)
I don't think that was the intent, nor that the straw man was about anything other than the idea of a Scientologist becoming a pharmacist when the two are kind of at odds.

I don't think it's any father reaching than a Muslim working at Target and having to deal with credit cards, though the two aren't really at odds as much. Besides, the religious conversion idea is much more plausible to me.
Sep. 24th, 2008 03:09 am (UTC)
The original comment, there at the top, is "No seriously, how on EARTH would a Christian Scientist become a pharmacist? Why would she do that? I think you can build a better straw man that that, Rob."

Which is not what you said. Which means that you therefore did not build this strawman. Which means that the first comment may be relevant to something, but not to your post. Therefore, WTF?
Sep. 23rd, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
I Answered yes to both -- but that is not to say that there isn't SOMETHING about the scenario that would or wouldn't be protected.

If memory serves - you cannot discriminate based on creed when hiring or firing - however - if it is determined that an "essential function" of the job position requires dispensing ANY prescriptions - such a scenario - by law - would not prevent said person for being fired.

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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