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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Gregoire vs. Conscience

When a professional board endorses a professional rule for its own, it usually will get a fair hearing. That is, unless the rule is related in any way to child sex or abortion. Then, the government will step in offering opinions and legislative hurdles to ensure that child sex and abortion not only continue but continue with or without the full consent of all involved.

This is the case with a recent proposal by the Washington State Pharmacy Board to allow a conscience clause to exempt pharmacists from participating in abortion who have moral or religious objections. It is worth noting that the proposal itself isn't even very solid, and in fact only exempts pharmacists under very specific conditions: another pharmacist must be available to fill the prescription, and the refusing pharmacist is obligated to give a referral.

Washington state governer Christine Gregoire, however, does not believe that pharmacists should have a right to act within their consciences, nor that they have the knowledge and wisdom to be allowed to act according to their long years of training, and take the liberty of advising patients as to the safety and workings of the medicines they purchase. As a politician she is, evidently, better qualified to make this medical decision than a pharmacist who spent eight years learning the trade.

And well she should be. As a practicing Catholic, she understands that any Catholic pharmacist who dispenses abortifacient medicines incurs excommunication. She no doubt understands, also, that pharmacists of many other faiths also suffer either external or internal consequences from such a violation of conscience. But as a politician in a pro-choice party, she has already come to terms with the question of conscience versus career, and has concluded that conscience doesn't weigh heavily. The obvious extension of this conclusion is that, as a politician, she has the right to make this decision for other people in other professions, as well.

Never mind the first amendment. Never mind being pro-choice, in fact. The moment that any individual is forced to participate in an abortion, it ceases to be a "choice." The politician is superior to the constitution, and to choice, and to God Himself.

You go, Ms. Gregoire. But where I suspect you're going, I hope you have a portable fan handy.