In recent years, there have been several incidents where pharmacists refused to dispense prescriptions for emergency contraception, as well as other types of contraceptives, because of their ethical, moral, or religious beliefs. State law has attempted to address this problem in various ways, but frequently fails to balance adequately the rights of a woman to access lawful contraceptive prescriptions against a pharmacist's right to onscientiously object. This Note argues that pharmacist refusal laws should seek guidance from a similar conflict in the lifesustaining treatment context. Life-sustaining treatment law permits a health care provider to refuse to comply with a patient's decision regarding life-sustaining treatment, but imposes additional duties on the health care provider who does so. These additional duties—requiring the health care provider to notify the patient of its policy in advance and transfer the patient to another health care facility—prevent both the patient's and health care provider's rights from being compromised. The Note concludes that analogous transfer and notice requirements should be placed on pharmacists who conscientiously object to dispensing contraceptive prescriptions.
Natalie Langlois, Life-Sustaining Treatment Law: A Model for Balancing a Woman's Reproductive Rights with a Pharmacist's Conscientious Objection, 47 B.C.L. Rev. 815 (2006), https://lawdigitalcommons.bc.edu/bclr/vol47/iss4/5