A website called Politicker.com posted a story about New York Mayor Bloomberg’s new initiative to limit supplies of prescription painkillers in the city’s emergency rooms. The idea of the initiative is to fight what the Mayor calls ‘a growing addiction problem in the region.’ On one level this makes sense–drug addiction is a growing problem, but beyond that, why are the Mayor and the City Council practicing medicine?
Having recently undergone some minor surgery, I understand that doctors and hospitals like to ‘manage’ the pain of their patients. That is very nice, but I really think we have become a nation of wimps. The day or two after surgery is generally tough, but to give a patient a two week supply of pain killers is questionable at best.
The article reports:
Mr. Bloomberg also argued the number of pain pills currently being prescribed had even contributed to an uptick in violent crimes outside of pharmacies from robbers looking to steal the drugs.
“You see there’s a lot more hold-ups of pharmacies, people getting held up as they walk out of pharmacies,” he explained. “What are they all about? They’re not trying to steal your shaving cream or toothpaste at the point of a gun. They want these drugs.”
This reminds me of the gun control argument–a government official is going to control the behavior of law-abiding citizens in order to change the behavior of those who choose not to follow the law. Makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately that is not currently a hypothetical question. KEPR-TV reported on Wednesday that a Federal Judge will consider if Washington state can require pharmacies to stock and sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, even in the face of religious objections by druggists who believe they destroy human life.
The article reports:
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton heard closing arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit that claims state rules violate the constitutional rights of pharmacists by requiring them to dispense such medicine. The state requires them to dispense any medication for which there is a community need and to stock a representative assortment of drugs needed by their patients.
When did emergency contraception (read ‘morning-after pill’) become a community need?
The article further reports:
The pharmacists argued they can easily and quickly refer customers to nearby pharmacies willing to sell the drug. Individual pharmacists are allowed to pass a prescription to another druggist in the same store, provided the patient’s order was filled without delay. But that leaves no option for a lone pharmacist, or for the owner of a pharmacy who also has religious objections to a particular drug.
The pharmacists “can violate their core religious beliefs and participate in the taking of a human life, or they can lose their license,” lawyer Kristen Waggoner said during her closing argument.
Before you decide this case has nothing to do with you for various reasons, let’s walk down the road a bit and see where it goes. Every person has a slightly different conscience. That is because we are all different and have different life experiences. However, when we begin to violate other peoples’ consciences because we share a different belief, we lose some of the reins that keep society from spinning out of control. I am sure that there were people in Germany who were offended when the government began killing the disabled and the infirm. I am sure their feelings were ignored. By the time Hitler got around to killing the Jews, the idea of a conscience was erased. There were too few people left with an idea that something was wrong to stop what was going on. Do we want to go there? Violating a person’s conscience and claiming it is part of the law is a very dangerous thing for a society to do.