There are reported incidences of pharmacists refusing to return a pill prescription, preventing women from obtaining the pill elsewhere.
The growing controversy is prompting state legislatures to consider whether pharmacists should be compelled to supply the MAP when presented with a doctor’s prescription. Arizona has recently legislated in favour of ‘the pharmacist’s right to choose’, whilst Illinois has ordered pharmacists to dispense prescriptions “immediately and without question”.
Unlike in Britain where over-the-counter sales of Levonelle (the morning after pill) have been legalised, in America a doctor’s prescription is still required, limiting the impact of individual pharmacists’ actions. However, if pressure to allow on-demand provision of the MAP is successful, pharmacists may have significantly more scope to impede women’s access to emergency contraception.
This story has rolled on for a very long time now (there were similar reports last year during the US Presidential elections) but I find it deeply worrying that the issue is gaining increasing momentum in Middle America – and maybe even Middle England.
Opponents of the MAP argue variously that, as it is can cause a very early chemical abortion, it is immoral, or that it encourages reckless behaviour by women. In the UK, 55% of Daily Mail readers polled online believe that the MAP “encourages casual, unprotected sex”.