Monday, October 8, 2007

Stock Up On Those Birth Control Pills

Is this the latest troop move on the culture war front? From Sunday’s Tennessean:
Christian pharmacy professors wanted
Schools struggle to fill demand

Staff Writer

Pharmacists in Tennessee are already in high demand across the state, but the Christians among them might also be getting invitations to trade tablets for textbooks.

Three private, Christian universities in the state — Belmont, Lipscomb and Union — are hiring positions for new pharmacy colleges scheduled to open next fall. Although the process has been smooth, school administrators know they're only beginning what could be a long ordeal.

"We have fewer people going into this segment of the profession, and we're starting to see baby boomers retiring," said Belmont's School of Pharmacy Dean Phil Johnston.

Johnston has received plenty of applicants for all of the positions posted at his school but says that could change. At all three schools, faculty members must be Christians, including pharmacy faculty.

Oh goodie, more Christian pharmacists! That should mean more stories like this:


By Amanda Paulson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

CHICAGO –The culture wars have already seeped into hospices, movie theaters, and the Super Bowl. Now, even the corner drugstore has become a battleground.

From rural Texas to Chicago, more instances are cropping up of pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for oral contraceptives and the morning-after pill. As a result, politicians around the country are stepping into the fray.

[ ... ]

"Most observers seem to say it [refusing to give out contraceptives] is picking up, and there seems to be a more organized campaign to allow pharmacists to refuse," says Adam Sonfeild, an analyst with the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which tracks reproductive health issues.

Come on, Southern Beale, you’re thinking; loosen the tin foil hat! Isn’t it possible that there’s a demand for pharmacists, and Christain schools are simply filling an enrollment demand, as any school would?

Sure, absolutely. And just because a school is “Christian” doesn’t mean it’s part of some right-wing fundamentalist conspiracy, either. But the fact is, a lot of religious colleges are getting into the pharmacy game, and this should be a warning sign to reproductive rights activists. We’ve seen this movie before. Just as the next generation of Judge Roy Moores is being churned out at places like Patrick Henry College and Regent University, don’t be surprised if we see a new generation of fundamentalist Christian pharmacists like Kevin Stormans setting up shop at a drugstore near you.

Of course, Belmont and Lipscomb are hardly the ideology factories that Regent and Patrick Henry are. But check out Palm Beach Atlantic University, whose Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy is home to the Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International. The CPFI instructs its students to “refuse to dispense a prescription that goes against their moral conscience.”

So, what’s the point of all this, you may ask. Well, Christians who want to go into the pharmacy profession have every right to “practice their love with women,” as President Bush might say. But those who think women should have access to birth control and emergency contraception need to start planning for some massive state “Pharmacist Conscience Clause” battles. Because, folks, the fun’s just beginning.