WHAT CAN A CATHOLIC PHARMACIST SELL OR NOT SELL?
I will relate this question to condoms, contraceptives, and
abortifacients. In a Dec 05 survey of US pharmacists, 69% of
respondents said that they were against state laws that
would require them to fill prescriptions for emergency
contraception, such as for the morning after pill.
A Catholic pharmacist should not be forced to violate his or
her conscience by selling condoms, contraceptives or
abortifacients. Someone may say, “These items are legal. I
have a right to buy them, and you have a duty to provide
them.” But simply because something is legal does not mean
it is moral.
When slavery was legal, should an auctioneer have been
penalized for refusing to sell slaves? When racial
discrimination against Blacks was legal, should a
businessman who refused to discriminate against Blacks, by
hiring them and paying a standard wage, have been penalized?
When the Nazi Party began its open persecution of Jews,
should the churches have cooperated in this because it was
An immoral law has no moral authority. It should be resisted
Some may say that a pharmacist has no right to push his
values upon the public. But, by the same token, the public
has no right to force its immorality, or dis-values, upon a
pharmacist. “Service, not Servitude” is their motto.
A conscientious pharmacist stocks hundreds of legitimate
products in his shelves, and by so doing provides a great
service to the public. Our government should not penalize
him for refusing to supply contraceptives or abortifacients.
If clients insist upon buying them, then they can go to
another pharmacy. When you go to McDonald’s you should not
expect to buy beer. You can go elsewhere to find beer. No
A conscientious pharmacist knows that condoms,
contraceptives, and abortifacients are very harmful. Condoms
and contraceptives trivialize sex. They destroy an act of
spousal love, which requires total commitment and openness
to life, and reduce it to a mere act of sex. All this
contributes to the 50% divorce rate, lack of male
responsibility, 35% of children born outside of marriage,
dysfunctional families, and increased abortions. All
chemical contraceptives have potential for abortifacient
If a pharmacist cannot convince the chain for which he works
to honor his conscience with a conscience clause in his
contract, then he should consider starting up his own
business. I encourage them to contact Pharmacists for Life
International (www.pfli.org, and email@example.com) and share
information and experiences with them. There is much good
information on this website.
Since a Catholic pharmacist is a public person, like a
doctor or politician, he must be conscious of the real
possibility of public scandal. If he sells condoms or OCs,
then he should not accept positions in his parish like
catechist, extraordinary minister of Communion, lector, etc.
There is a serious conflict between his Faith and his
There are some evils in our society that will only change
when enough conscientious people refuse to participate in
them. Abortion and contraception are two of these.
Speaking for myself, I cannot see how a Catholic pharmacist
can justify staying in an offending pharmacy if there are
other employment options available. And they are available:
in 1) academia, 2) government, 3) private research/pharma,
4) hospitals, 5) managed care (PBMs) as a clinical
pharmacist, 6) office-based practice that does medication
therapy management in an agreement with physician(s) and is
a non-dispensing role, and 7) medical science liaison for
pharma. The same thing applies to Catholic doctors and
Pro-life customers can help by refusing to patronize
offending pharmacies, and by writing letters to the
management explaining why they are taking their business
elsewhere, and describing what kind of pharmacist they will
patronize, viz., one with good morals and character,
including a properly formed conscience.
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