Monday, August 16, 2010

Catholic Pharmacists Have A Tougher Job Ahead

Mr. Thomas G. Rice, Publisher
The Bulletin - Philadelphia's Family Newspaper
1500 Walnut Street, Suite 300,
Philadelphia, PA

Dear Mr. Rice,

During this past week, the FDA approved the abortifacient "ella", which some are calling the "week after" pill. Up until now, even some in the pro life movement have failed to recognize the abortifacient nature of many so-called contraceptives. Your publication has long stood nearly alone, in recognizing that the battle line to protect the sanctity of human life has been extended from "traditional" abortion facilities to local pharmacies. As per your excellent article by Father Matthew Habiger:

  • “A Catholic pharmacist should not be forced to violate his or her conscience by selling condoms, contraceptives or abortifacients….simply because something is legal does not mean it is moral....An immoral law has no moral authority. It should be resisted and changed....
  • “A conscientious pharmacist knows that condoms, contraceptives, and abortifacients are very harmful....All chemical contraceptives have potential for abortifacient effects. 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 (, and ....
  • “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 oral contraceptives, 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 business.
  • “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....
  • “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.”

Clearly, Catholics and all people of good will must stand behind pharmacists of conscience. That means doing our business with them, even when it is inconvenient. Up until now, we have been doing an extremely poor job. Though there are only a handful of pharmacies in the country which refuse to market in so-called contraceptives / abortifacients (See the web site of Pharmacists for Life (, the geographically closest one needed to close for lack of business (See

As Father Habiger reminds us, "There are some evils in our society that will only change when enough conscientious people refuse to participate in them." Shouldn't we be refusing to do business with marketers of abortionfacients and contraceptives? Shouldn't our parishes be refusing bulletin ads from pharmacies which sell them (And don't forget that some of those offending pharmacies are housed in local supermarkets and department stores!).

Please keep up your wonderful work.

God bless you and your staff,

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