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Virginia Pharmacy Won't Carry Contraception

Virginia Pharmacy Won't Carry Contraception

I've heard of Roman Catholics not believing in birth control, but now a new Roman Catholic pharmacy in Virginia doesn't believe in selling it. Divine Mercy Care Pharmacy isn't the only one letting their faith lead their business. Seven other pharmacies across the nation are doing the same. They're refusing to sell any forms of contraception, including condoms, birth control pills, and the morning-after pill, even if the person has a prescription.

States are dealing with this issue by passing laws that require drugstores to go against their religious beliefs and fill the prescriptions. Right now though, in the state of Virginia, these laws don't exist and devout Catholic-based drugstores are allowed to deny birth control to anyone who walks in their store.

To find out what abortion-rights groups think,


Abortion rights groups are concerned that these kinds of stores will affect low-income women and those in rural states. If women can't have access to birth control, many will be faced with decisions about how to deal with unwanted pregnancies.

This is a tough case. For those who share a store's religious beliefs, the customers may feel more comfortable shopping there. But a person should also be able to choose whether or not they want to use birth control, and they should be able to have access to it where they live. So what do you think? Should pharmacies be required by law to sell contraception, or should they have the right to decide what they sell?


Join The Conversation
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
Janine22: the difference between the pharmacies in CAnada and the ones in the US ( I think) is that our pharmacies and healthcare aren't regulated by the government, so pharmacists have the right to choose what medications they offer, and Angela123: I work in chantilly, and live in northern va...there are 4 CVS pharmacies within 2 miles of my apartment. I am sure you can find one a reasonable distance form your house that allows you to buy birth control without dirty looks. And, if you don't like your health insurance, switch. most companies offer more than one plan. And if you are still on your parents health insurance, i would say get over it until you can get your own...sort the same as "if you are under our roof you will follow our rules" which I used to hate to hear, but it is true enough.
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
Well, I live in Va (close to chantilly, in fact, my Catholic parents' church is part of the uber-conservative Arlington diocese as well) and this doesn't surprise me at all. I have gotten many a dirty look from a pharmacist when picking up my birth control. I am also currently trying to get my prescription for Yaz (prescribed for mood swings/PMDD)pre-authorized, because my insurance (huge national carrier that was originally a Southern Catholic know the one) won't cover 'family planning services'. It's so ridiculous.
Janine22 Janine22 8 years
Ok I am so confused. I live in Canada, and we do not have 'Roman Catholic pharmacies' as far as I know. No pharmacist in Canada has the legal right to refuse the morning after pill or any form of birth control to anyone, or any other type of medication that is prescribed or over the counter, for that matter. Why would it ever be otherwise???? So, I don't get it, they are against birth control but they are cool with women seeking abortions because they didn't have access to birth control??????????????
snowysakurasky snowysakurasky 8 years
i didn't think that most catholics were actually SO into not using contraceptives... birth control is the best way to prevent abortions. no store should have to sell any specific thing though. and people do not have a 'god-given' right to have anything sold within a certain distance of their home. If you feel that your town doesn't sell what you want that is your problem. It is unlikely that no one would take the opportunity to make money selling the items that this store doesn't want to. And as mentioned, there are very likely birth control options sold online.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
Sorry, but one of my friends is poor (as in, WIC, food stamps, only one of the couple works and she gets laid off sporadically) and she gets free birth control either through planned parenthood or the local health department. So....there are options. Even for the poor. I like how some of you make everyone feel guilty for having any wealth at all. What a great country we live in that we cannot celebrate our successes without someone crying it isn't fair.
geebers geebers 8 years
This really targets the poor doesn't it? Those that cannot afford to pay to travel to another pharmacy or pay the shipping for their medications on mail order.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
I take a very populist view towards women's health. There are just too many disadvantaged women in this country. The privileged will always have birth control and access to abortion if they want it. The poor are priced or spaced out of affordable birth control. Sorry, that's what I see every day in NYC.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 8 years
runningsesq: so, those people also don't have access to a free public library with free internet access? i find that hard to believe
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Okay, you go tell that to people who can't afford to travel far, who don't have internet access, and who have one pharmacy within a 50 mi radius. (oh, and when those ppl have unwanted children, you can pay for them, too)
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
If its important to you, you will find a way.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
ghostgrrl, very good points. It's one thing for a small pharmacy in a large metropolitan area to carry only what they deem necessary but as others have pointed out, it's a completely different thing for the only pharmacy in the town to refuse to carry birth control pills and condoms! I completely agree that the FDA should be stepping in and making the owners choose: Either offer condoms and BC or close your store and let someone less judgmental open a pharmacy.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Okay, CG, but what about people who live in areas without easy access to another pharmacy?
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I have no problem with this at all, if you want it go to another store its the individual owners rights to carry what good and services they want to.
k8-rckstr k8-rckstr 8 years
I actually agree with cravinsugar on this one...
ghostgrrl ghostgrrl 8 years
So... next they stop carrying medication to treat AIDS, because they can't interfere with "God's judgment against homosexuals". Then they stop allowing transsexuals to buy hormones because they're "interfering with God's plan for their bodies". Then they pre-emptively refuse to carry any medications derived from Sten Cell research. Then they refuse to carry any medications designed to treat mental illness because they subscribe to the views of the Citizen's Commission on Human Rights International, i.e. that there is no such thing as a mental illness. Then the Christian Scientists announce that *their* pharmacists will not distribute any medications to treat any conditions that could possibly be addressed through prayer. Then, the various religious groups will get it in their heads that they must boycott any pharmacies that carry products that violate their religious principles, forcing even more pharmacies to start restricting their offerings. A path we want to start going down? Letting every pharmacy pick and choose what they will and won't provide? Pharmacists are able to practice because they are licensed by the state. In most cases they have received their education at taxpayer-supported colleges. Their entire industry is regulated by the government, and they can't even sell any drugs not tested and approved by the FDA. They hold a position of public trust. Oh and those Catholic hospitals? Tax exempt, just like any other hospital. Shouldn't they be expected to make some sacrifices for the public in exchange for that tax exemption? How about if all business decide to start picking and choosing their customers based on their religious preferences? If a Catholic wants to build a pharmacy in which they only sell drugs in accordance with their religious beliefs, then should I, as a protestant and the owner of the only construction supply store within 50 miles, have the right to refuse to sell to them? As the only plumber within 50 miles, should I have the right to refuse to answer their service calls? As the only bank in town, should I have a right to deny them a loan? No, I shouldn't, because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discriminating against someone based on their religious beliefs. So the real question is: should that protection be a one way street? Should that Catholic pharmacy get a pass on discriminating against customers by refusing to sell them a legal, medically beneficial, product because they disagree with the religious beliefs of the person purchasing the product? Is this different than a doctor or hospital refusing service to an unwed pregnant woman? Is this different than an electric company refusing to sell electricity to homes in which unmarried adults are living together? If this any different than the only grocery store in town deciding that they will no longer carry fish, just so the local Catholics have to drive 50 miles every Friday night to eat? These pharmacists seems to be oblivious to the fact that they benefit EVERY DAY from the rest of the world not doing to them what they want to do to these women. When you live in a pluralistic society, you have to respect the views and decisions of other people exactly as much as you want them to respect yours.
356UIK 356UIK 8 years
psychobabble, "VA falls within the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, which is one of the most conservative in the country. I am a Catholic so I am biased, but it makes sense for this business to be in Chantilly where there is a group of people who will use it." Good point! And it is a highly populated area so it seems there is a niche for it as far as the economic aspect of supply and demand goes.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 8 years
Just another reason why I hate religion.
Meike Meike 8 years
It's one thing to not use birth control for themselves. That's fine. It's another thing for them to deny others birth control and therefore hindering another person's rights. But, hey, they have the right to sell whatever they want. I would just take my money elsewhere. I wouldn't want to support a business founded on religious zealotry.
foudini foudini 8 years
(Well, as far as I am aware they have to provide those services.) Please let me know if I am wrong. :D
foudini foudini 8 years
Amandaletta-- LOL, :D, I deal with it by not eating there! Actually, I had no idea there was a religious stake in Chick-fil-a. LOL.
foudini foudini 8 years
Private business or not, there is a serious problem with denying access to certain medications versus others. I bet they supply Viagra and Cialis. It wouldn't surprise me if they sold personal lubricants as well. They are a purveyor of certain goods (i.e. medicine and medicine supplies) and unless they are going to remove ALL goods related to sexual activity, they are obligated to provide them. Providers of medical care/services/supplies cannot place their moral/ethical judgments over their patients' health. There are privately-owned hospitals all over America and they are required by law to provide women's health services as equally as they provide men's health services.
candace87 candace87 8 years
I might get attacked for saying this but i'm just going to put it out there; what about the young people who can't get to a pharmacy in the next county, and can't ask for a ride there to pick up condoms because their parents don't know? I am NOT saying I condone 14 year olds having sex, but we all know it happens, and depriving them of birth control is not going to do anything positive. They'll just write it off as, oh well I can't get b.c. in this town so i'll just go without. While this pharmacy is trying to reduce abortion rates, they're really just going to escalate it.
carak carak 8 years
hey how about you get your BC prescription at CVS or Target or any other chain that isn't INSANE. this is not as bad as working for a Catholic hospital where the insurance WILL NOT cover BC. i knew someone who that happened to. paid well, but the insurance wouldn't cover her BC.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
the problem with that, ilanac, is that some people - a lot of people, surprisingly ;) - don't have internet access. in addition, there are people who don't have 15 pharmacies within a 3 mile radius -- and don't have a choice. it isn't a church/ state issue, because pharmacies are privately owned.
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