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Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005, 02:01 am

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.

Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 04:41 pm (UTC)

Hi there, I just moved to Denton from Idaho, a state more red than Texas...ugh....If you're accurate on the bill, it would be relatively easy to challenge in court, because it does not require the pharmacist to return the perscription. Most of the laws that have been passed (and upheld) nationwide that allow a pharmacist to deny service let them act their beliefs, but not to the point that the person cannot get the perscription at all. For instance, if one pharmacist does not feel comfortable handing out EC, he or she can have another pharmacist at the same place do it....Easy enough, right? I don't know why this bill isn't more like those, that would be a lot better for everyone involved, and challenges are going to cost the state money.

Tue, Feb. 1st, 2005 06:46 pm (UTC)

handing the scrip to someone else at the same place to fill would be participating in the dispensation of it, something pharmacists are expressly protected from by the bill.

Wed, Feb. 2nd, 2005 08:30 pm (UTC)

woah woah woah!

I'm currently on Seasonal to prevent ovarian cysts after Righty decided to become the size of a softball and, as such, had to be surgically removed. I'm on some sort of birth control for the rest of my life (except if I want to have kids, in which case I can go off and as soon as possible go back on) to avoid this happening to my remaining ovary. For me to not be able to receive my prescription is putting me at risk for most cysts and more surgery.

Guh! Stupid Texas.

Thu, Feb. 3rd, 2005 07:21 am (UTC)

It is never a bad time to get involved, if you aren't already.

Thu, Feb. 3rd, 2005 03:20 pm (UTC)

I am not as politically active as I should be, but I do vote. However, I also work 50 hour weeks in Dallas, so that limits my ability to be politically active beyond voting. I will be writing my representative though on this issue.