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Dr. Ada Fisher: Druggist wrong to reject prescription

The recent denial by a pharmacist in Walgreen’s of Peoria, Arizona, of a woman’ prescription for an abortive drug is absolutely wrong given the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy. The client reportedly went to the pharmacist for the drug after multiple consultations with her doctors revealed that she had an intrauterine pregnancy at 10 weeks which showed no signs of life or growth and such needed to be removed from her uterus.

Unfortunately, she had a very public discussion with this pharmacist about her prescription in the presence of her child and others standing nearby.

It should be rare when pharmacists are allowed to override a physician’s legitimate prescription request. If that pharmacy is the only place for such in a town, then they should be prohibited from the selective filling of medically indicated medications if they take federal money from Medicare, Medicaid and other state funded agencies — or risk losing that funding under rules of non-discrimination, equal protection and those set up for those agencies.

Though others may say find someone else to fill such a request, this is a disservice and inconvenience. This woman’s choices appear to be a surgical procedure with all its attendant risk versus a pill such as RU486 which is noninvasive and doesn’t require anesthesia. Leaving a dead fetus in a uterus is not an option; it could prove toxic and kill the mother. Is the mother’s life not important?

I have opposed putting these abortion pills on the shelf without a prescription, my concern being the side effects and hemorrhaging which could result if not monitored. It is now estimated that such medications account for 21 percent of abortions.

Doing obstetrics in rural America proved too much for me. The only nurse anesthetist on call stated that for a black, unmarried woman about to give birth to her fourth child by C-section, she would only assist if the woman had her tubes tied. Some pharmacists didn’t want women who were unmarried to have birth control pills and also refused to sell condoms openly.

Abortions for too many were indeed an alternative to not using other birth control. Like it or not, interference in women’s decisions to use contraception defies the U.S. Supreme Court’s Griswold vs. Connecticut decision guaranteeing the right of marital privacy.

I still hold to the belief that abortions are medical decisions which must be made only within the framework of medicine, not as a free option pulled off the shelf by Planned Parenthood or one controlled by pro-life forces. The second part of it is that though this is the law, there is no reason or right to believe that this should be publicly funded unless done for medical reasons.

It is indeed a different world than when I grew up. This too shall pass.

Dr. Ada M. Fisher of Salisbury, author of “Common Sense Conservative Prescriptions Good for What Ails Us Book 1” (available through Amazon), is the NC Republican National Committeewoman.

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