Roundup: Religious Belief or Discrimination?, The Pill Called ‘Out of Date’

Brady Swenson

Is pharmacists refusal to sell birth control a religious freedom or gender discrimination?, A Princeton professor says the Pill is 'out of date'.

Religious Belief or Masked Discrimination? … You should check out Amanda ‘s follow up to her excellent column yesterday in which she put William "Lord" Saletan in his place for choosing to get the backs of "pro-life" pharmacists instead of backing women.  Saletan argues that these "pro-life" pharmacists are simply adhereing to a strong religious belief that contraception, even condoms, cause the death of the fetus, and that religious beliefs cannot be discriminated agaisnt.  Amanda asserts that:


… when a pharmacist refuses to serve a female customer because he believes she is
sexually active in a way that goes against his religion, he is discriminating
her on two counts that are arguably illegal:

1) Discrimination against customers based on gender and
2) Discrimination
against customers based on religious affiliation.  The pharmacist is not the
only person with a religious belief.  As I argue in my piece, what happens in a
refusal interaction is the pharmacist gains information that the customer has a
religious belief he disapproves of (one that allows for the use of
contraception) and he refuses service based on that religious belief. 

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Amanda goes on to remind us that in the past we have overcome bigoted ideas to firmly establish personal liberties above and beyond the protective cloak of "religious belief":

Sexists hope that hiding behind religion will confuse the issue, and sadly
they’re right that Americans have short memories and are easily confused.  But
let me remind you: Segregation was defended using the religion card.  A great
many white people claimed to sincerely believe that the Bible required that the
races be separated, a belief that was even in the decision of the judge that
sent the Lovings to jail for interracial marriage, resulting in a lawsuit that
ended up overturning bans on interracial marriage.  We would not accept a hotel
manager who felt that his hotel was exempt from the CRA because his religious
freedom means that he can impose his will on black customers and refuse to put
them in any rooms but broken-down shacks in the back.  Nor should we accept a
pharmacist who does the equivalent with his female customers. 

In a related note, Scotland approved FREE emergency contraception to be available in the nation’s pharmacies.  Pharmacists will be able to opt out of providing EC as a matter of conscience.

Contraceptive Pill Outdated, Says Expert … Professor James Trussell of Princeton University warns that 1 in 12 women on the Pill become pregnant because they forget to take tablets at the right time

He said: "The Pill is an outdated method because it does not work well enough.
It is very difficult for ordinary women to take a pill every single day. The
beauty of the implant or the IUD is that you can forget about them."

He said studies have shown women miss three times as many pills as they say they
do. Computerised pill packs have revealed that where as about half of women say
they did not miss any pills, less than a third actually did. And where as
between 10 per cent and 14 per cent admitted missing more than three pills in a
month, actually between 30 per cent and 50 per cent missed that many.

While the contraceptive efficacy of the Pill is indeed reliant upon the discipline of the woman using the Pill it is the form of birth control that most women seem most comfortable with.  More permanent options are, of course, available with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. has a very thorough description of birth control options with advantages and disadvantages of each. 


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