The Right to Refuse vs. The Right to Abort

A clash between interests – namely the interest of a medical professional who feels he or she should not be forced to perform procedures or dole out drugs that violate his or her personal beliefs, and the interest of the one seeking the procedure or drugs – has escalated in recent weeks as officials in several states mount efforts to make the controversial "morning-after pill" easier to get.

“Doctors are pitted against pharmacists and the FDA, druggists are fighting their employers, drugstores are fighting state regulators, and states are challenging the federal government,” noted Daniel C. Vock of the Kansas City infoZine.

Last month, Illinois pharmacist Rich Quayle lost his $100,000-a-year job at a Walgreen Co. pharmacy in Madison County when he refused to sign a pledge for his employer promising to dispense the morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, in accordance with a new state rule. He made no apologies for refusing to violate his religious beliefs and dispense emergency contraception.

"People try to paint us as being religious zealots," said Quayle recently, according to the Associated Press. "I have firm religious beliefs, and I choose not to destroy a human being. I don't think that's necessarily a bad moral stance to take."

Editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, in a recent column playfully titled “The War Over Our Genitals” and subtitled “Pharmacists and Doctors Turn Judgmental,” addressed the question of how society can reconcile two competing, “yet equally compelling interests.”

In discussing the issue, Rall – who seemingly attempted to give a neutral suggestion on the matter – compared the decision of Quayle and those like him to a doctor’s decision to refuse to perform optional cosmetic surgery.

“If I were a doctor, I would refuse to perform these operations or refer patients to a physician that did,” he wrote, describing such operations as “degrading and obscene, symptoms of a shallow society's contempt for natural beauty and aging.”

However, Rall also said those on the other hand should be able to walk into a clinic “with the reasonable expectation” of getting the help they seek.

While it may be true that optional cosmetic surgeries – such as face lifts, “tummy tucks,” and breast enlargements – are questionable over their superficial worth, they are certainly not comparable to the dispensing of drugs engineered to put an end to an unborn child. Life is not something so trivial.

It is one thing to distort a creation of God; it is another to abort a creation of God.

If anything, it should be the freedom to cut off life that should be put on trial, not the freedom to protect it.