This was just recently brought to my attention - before the opening bell of the Texas Legislature, anti-choice lawmakers introduced a bill (HB 16) to restrict women's access to
contraception at their local pharmacies. Representative Frank Corte wrote this bill which would givew pharmacists discretionary control over feminine reproductive health care. This bill is getting fast-tracked and has been referred to a committee before most other bills have even been heard.
HB 16 allows pharmacists, at their sole discretion, to override a physician's recommendation and refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control and emergency contraception (EC). Even if a physician prescribed birth control pills to help prevent anemia, ovarian cancers, high cholesterol, or other medical reasons, a pharmacist could refuse to fill it.
EC is different from RU-486, the usual whipping boy of Anti-Choice legislators. EC is a high dose of ordinary birth control pills that can prevent pregnancy when taken after unprotected sex. RU-486 terminates an early pregnancy, a function which draws the ire of Anti-Choice advocates and spurns them to call it "the abortion pill".
According to prochoiceaction.org, EC has the potential to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions in the United States by 50%. In the year 2000, emergency contraception prevented approximately 51,000 abortions. It is particularly important for rape survivors and for women whose contraception has failed.
TX HB 16 does not require that objecting pharmacists return the prescription to allow women to get it filled by another pharmacy, nor even refer the woman to another pharmacy that could fill her prescription.
Even if you don't live in Texas, I think its important for everyone to know what sorts of bile is cooking down here. If any of you remember from last year, a pharmacist in my hometown (Denton TX) refused to fill a prescription for birth control based on his personal beliefs.
Not only did the corporation (Eckerd) not take action against the pharmacist, but if you went to buy a paper the next day at that Eckerd, they had cut the stories concerning the phamacist's refusal out of every paper they carried.
If you live in Texas this probably doesn't surprise you, but the enablement of ideologues to impugn their will upon the general public should not be legislated.
This is the war Texas Democrats are fighting. Write your representative here.
UPDATE: An email address for Rep. Corte isn't posted, but there is a webform, which you can find here.