From Soda Jerk to Jerk

by Rebecca Schmitz

One hundred years ago your local pharmacist doubled as the owner of the town’s soda fountain, dispensing both lemon phosphates and cocaine to customers without fuss.  Nowadays, you might be able to pay for most of your purchases at the pharmacy counter in the back of CVS or Walgreens, but don’t expect a milkshake while you wait for your prescription to be filled.   And don’t expect to purchase birth control from the pharmacy at Larry’s IGA in Broadus.  That’s right.  John Lane, the 21st Century’s version of the soda jerk, has decided to stop filling birth control prescriptions in Broadus because of his personal religious convictions.  Since he’s the only pharmacist in town, Powder River County residents now have to either drive 80 miles to Miles City or receive their pills by mail.

Lane believes a little inconvenience shouldn’t outweigh his ability to work and provide for his family — he and his wife, Amy, have six children ranging in age from 5 months to 9 years — while living out the convictions of his faith.

Powder River County, and all of Montana, can do something about this.  We can insist Mr. Lane and others, like the owners of Snyder Drug in Great Falls, simply do their jobs.  Since no other licensed professions allow their members to practice without a basic belief in and understanding of the tenets of their chosen profession, (A teacher who doesn’t teach?  A hairstylist who can’t cut hair?  A doctor who doesn’t cure patients?) let’s make it easier for John Lane to “work and provide for his family”.  Let’s elect folks to the 2009 Legislature who will introduce and pass a law requiring pharmacists to fill all legal prescriptions and requiring the Montana Board of Pharmacy to revoke the licenses of those individuals who cannot perform their jobs.  That way, Mr. Lane can practice his faith by finding employment in a less-demanding field.  Like making banana splits at Baskin Robbins.

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  1. petetalbot

    Great headline, Rebecca, and apropos.

  2. If he weren’t regulated for the public’s health safety and welfare, it’d be a different deal…but Lane is selling drugs. What if the head of the FDA decided that birth control was against his basic beliefs? And Bush agreed?

    This kind of crap has got to stop. Now. How autonomous is the Montana Board of Pharmacy? Can’t something be done now?

    Criminy – the Board of Barbers, or something like that, is threatening to revoke some cosmetologists license because she is displaying a barber’s pole, for Christ’s sake – surely the Montana Board of Pharmacy can do something about Lane’s asinine behavior now?

    This kind of stuff really pisses me off.

  3. Jedediah Redman

    I’m quite ambivalent about this.

    I think the guy’s reasons are superstitious nonsense; and I think whether or not he must stock up in accordance with state law is probably going to have to be determined by some judge.

    But for somebody to say to some merchant that he must sell something seems to me to be a bit beyond where I come down as a socialist.

    If he were working for the state I’d demand he sell whatever the state paid him to sell; but, so long as he is individually responsible for stocking his own store, I’m not comfortable with anybody telling him what he must sell…

  4. Stacy Rye

    Thanks, Rebecca. Does he stock condoms? If he does. . . pot meet kettle.

  5. goof houlihan

    I’m in. I’m a capitalist all the way, but I’m comfortable with telling the pharmacist he has to sell doctor proscribed drugs.

    Don’t see how that has much to do with the economic system, but does have a lot to do with health care, which, btw, I still think should be capitalist, too.

  6. goof houlihan

    I mean, geez, look at what he architects did to John Sinrud…

  7. He ain’t selling milk and cookies. His product is regulated quite heavily. So are his services. Not everyone can just open their doors and sell drugs, unlike milk and cookies.

    With that kind of regulation on his product and services, and the public with limited accessibility due to those regulations – unlike the numerous milk and cookie stores around any given town – Mr. Lane needs adjust.

  8. goof houlihan

    Since Ed’s out there lurking, I guess I should self correct to “prescribed” in the above post.

    Although the occasional “proscribed” drug…

  9. Sorry, Jed, but if you’re going to be a licensed member of any profession that requires said license then you should meet all the requirements and perform the duties to the best of your responsibility. Right now Montana, unlike California and New Jersey, does not require pharmacists to dispense legal prescriptions. That’s why the law has to be changed. Don’t like it? Don’t want to fill prescriptions? Then find another fucking job. As jhwygirl mentioned, the Montana Board of Barbers and Cosmetologists is going after a hairstylist in Whitefish who displays a barber pole without the necessary training to be a barber. Excessive regulation you think? Fine, then change the law. Otherwise, Montana has two licensing boards operating in our state with certain ethical obligations and the lesser of the two, the barbers, are more stringent. That’s completely, utterly, totally fucked up.

  10. Jedediah Redman

    Your tough language neither shocks nor convinces me, MS Schmitz.

    A license makes it appropriate for a person to perform a service. I do not think it makes it mandatory.

    But as I said, I am ambivalent; so–if anybody has a better argument–I’m willing to be convinced…

  11. A license makes it legal for a person to perform their job when they’re a member of a profession that requires one, just like a license makes it legal for you to operate a motor vehicle. Get caught without one, and I’d like to see you explain to the cops that you’re oh so ambivalent about having one until someone provides a better argument for you to be a licensed driver.

  12. Jedediah Redman

    A drivers’ license say a person may drive. It does not require one to drive.

    I think you’re just pissed that the ERA dis not pass…

  13. ERA? Are you kidding me? This is 2007, man. I was born in 1971. Stop framing and thinking about the debate in terms of yesteryear, Grandpa, and maybe you might understand why you’ve been left in the dust by fellow liberals.

  14. JC

    I think that the people of the state have the right to codify ethical obligations of certain professions. We do it for doctors and lawyers and counselors. The state codifies ethical activities of its citizens, for instance if you see a car accident, you are ethically and legally obligated to lend assistance.

    I see no reason why Montanans shouldn’t codify ethical AND professional obligations of pharmacists. The occupation of pharmacist is highly regulated as to how it is conducted, including how various classes of drugs are handled and sold. A lawyer has to study for and pass an ethics test, and then operate in an ethical manner in order to practice. Fail to do so, and you will be sanctioned by the state bar. I see little difference in the professional and ethical obligations of lawyers and pharmacists.

    If you can’t handle the ethical duties of a of a job, then it is time to change professions. I’m reminded of the day I sat down with my college advisor thirty years ago, who told me that my upcoming degree in physics would prepare me for a great career building nuclear bombs for the government. The reality of that statement shocked me so much that I dropped out of school, and explored my beliefs before I went back to school and finished my degree in a different field.

  15. I say let the market decide.

    If enough people are upset about it and quit supporting him, he’ll either change his policy, or go out of business.

  16. Thank you, JC. That’s what I was getting at, too. There is no “right” to a profession in this country. There are no real private businesses in the United States. As with most things having to do with economy and business, our country practices a watered-down capitalism. Local, state and federal governments provide subsidies, tax breaks and bail outs. They require regulations and, in the case of many professions, licenses for those who choose employment in a particular sector. The state has a vested interest in making sure those individuals who choose a profession requiring government control (a license) practice it according to the law. Sadly, if the regulations of a particular industry have to be codified for some people who do not want to follow the guidelines of their profession, then the citizens of the state have no choice but to make sure they comply.

    A person’s right to live in the 12th Century ends when they want to drag the rest of us back there with them.

  17. Jedediah Redman

    I guess you’re right, little lady.
    I quit agreeing with most of my fellow leftists in 1989 when they joined the rest of this nation and adopted the economy as their creed.
    Paul Tsongas, Joe Lieberman, and Bill Clinton were primary spokesmen for Reagan Democrats who exemplified modern leftist thinking.

    Turning tradesmen into apparachiks seems a bit to the right of even the DLR of 1989; but as I said I am not going to swear off my social democratic turn of mind to indenture Montana pharmacists to feminism instead of religion–or vice versa

  18. Sorry, Jed, but that’s not my argument here. “Indenture” implies Mr. Lang has only one choice in this life: to be a pharmacist. He doesn’t. There are plenty of professions to choose from in this world that do not require a license. Just ask “architect” John Sinrud.

    Eric above has a point that I generally have no quibble with–“let the market decide” (For instance, in the case of the PSC and Green Taxi in Missoula, we have the spectacle of two Republicans, Doug Mood and Brad Molnar, voting against the free market. But that’s a post for another day). In this case, John Lane has chosen a profession that lies outside the market, one that’s dependent on the government. He’s a pharmacist entirely at the luxury of the state and, ultimately, we the people. And if we the people decide, through our elected representatives, that he has to perform his job, then that, as they say, is that.

  19. And you do realize you’re just taunting jhwygirl with Reagan Democrats, don’t you? Don’t come crying to me when she sees that nasty slur and reacts accordingly.

  20. Jedediah Redman

    If the shoe fits, wear it has always covered most such Politically Incorrect moments for me, little lady.
    The other day one of the correspondents to Jay’s other forum suggested Potemkin Progressives as an alternative; but as you seem to enjoy pointing out I am an old dog.
    Anyway do you think jhwygirl’d like that any better..?

  21. Jedediah Redman

    Sorry, Jed, but that’s not my argument here. “Indenture” implies Mr. Lang has only one choice in this life: to be a pharmacist. He doesn’t. There are plenty of professions to choose from in this world that do not require a license. Just ask “architect” John Sinrud.

    Your willingness to dissimulate is obvious in your effort to compare Sinrud who apparently has no Architectural creds with Mr. Lane who apparently has.
    I call that christing.

    I’m beginning to think you’re moving even to the right of where I thought you were.

    Essentially you’re saying the fellow has invested 5-6 years of professional study to become a pharmacist; but–because he chooses not to peddle a treatment your ideology desires–the state should pull his license.

    I’m wondering if all things are as available to Broadus customers in other businesses as they may wish.
    Do you reckon a Jew could find kosher food in most Broadus stores?
    Would you have the state require that they do?

    It may well be that you are just too young to have ever had to get along without something you felt you deserved.

    Eric above has a point that I generally have no quibble with–”let the market decide” (For instance, in the case of the PSC and Green Taxi in Missoula, we have the spectacle of two Republicans, Doug Mood and Brad Molnar, voting against the free market. But that’s a post for another day). In this case, John Lane has chosen a profession that lies outside the market, one that’s dependent on the government. He’s a pharmacist entirely at the luxury of the state and, ultimately, we the people. And if we the people decide, through our elected representatives, that he has to perform his job, then that, as they say, is that

    Good points!–except there is really no reason for we the people…through our elected representatives to insinuate ourselves into his choice of superstitious beliefs.
    It seems to me you are trying to use our somewhat tenuous Right to Privacy to chip away at his firmly established first amendment right to practice his religion.

    I could live with that (since I have little regard for that part of the first amendment,)
    But it seems to me you’re representing too narrow an interest in an effort to restrict too broad a license…

  22. JC

    It’s really not productive to drag this argument down to the right to life/choose level. Or to attack it from a political stance. It really has nothing to do with these issues, except maybe in Lane’s eyes.

    What it really has to do with is life and death. A pharmacist who does his job improperly can kill someone. A pharmacist who lets moral objections cloud the needed objectivity and clarity of thought to do the job stands to make mistakes that potentially can injure or kill people.

    Once Lane, the pharmacist, has determined that a customer requests a certain medication with which he has a moral problem, how do we know that his moral objection won’t spill over to his other duties in regards to that customer (including right to privacy)? We don’t. The bond of trust between pharmacist and customer is permanently broken. That customer can no longer trust the pharmacist with their life. In this particular instance, the woman who went to Lane for birth control pill can no longer trust him to provide any other services to her.

    By extension, this reasoning can extend to whole classes of drugs that pharmacists provide. Drugs derived from stem cell research. Drugs derived from recombinant DNA experiments or cloning. Drugs that were tested on monkeys and dogs, or in the past, poor black people. On and on. The potential for moral or ethical objections to the drugs in use today can runs deep and wide. What particular objection does your pharmacist have? What drugs are they going to refuse to prescribe next? Will pharmacies descend into hovels that cater to special interest groups: a pharmacy for PETA supporters; a pharmacy for Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists; a pharmacy for right wing evangelicals; a pharmacy for right to lifers. I don’t think so, but seems to be where Lang would take his trade, unabated by the unfettered marketplace.

    This is why a pharmacist and the pharmacy he works for/owns must take a neutral ethical stance on the drugs he provides. Otherwise the moral and ethical stances the pharmacist has (and we all have them) cloud the ability and desire to do the job properly. Without complete trust, the occupation is rendered useless and dangerous, potentially deadly.

    This is why individuals in other professions, like doctors and lawyers, among others are trained in the ethical obligations of their chosen professions, and then tested to ensure that they get it. The profession of pharmacy is no different from other professions in regards to the need for closely watched and regulated ethical standards ands practices.

  23. Good points, JC.

    insinuate ourselves into his choice of superstitious beliefs

    Wrong, Jed. Nowhere have I said Mr. Lang does not have the right to practice his religion. Of course he does. On his own time. Where his First Amendment rights stop is at the door of the licensing board. Why should an industry, particularly one as important to all of us as healthcare, bend and relax its rules to allow personal superstitions to interfere with the standards of professionalism and safety its license requires? If an architect applied for a license before the Montana Board of Architects and claimed he didn’t believe in the current building codes because of something he read in the Bhagavad Gita, you would expect him to be turned down, right? (At least I certainly hope so, otherwise your argument–that religious convictions trump public welfare and safety–is idiotic.) Why should John Lang’s religious objections to his chosen industry be any different?

    Or does this have something to do with your antiquated attitudes about women and sex? I’ve noticed that you’re Mr. Flaming Liberal, Old Wobbly Ready to Sing the Internationale in nearly every instance except when it comes to sexuality. Then you’re right beside the G.O.P. on the fainting couch, holding smelling salts to your nose.

  24. Jedediah Redman

    Ol’ jed is a misogynist old sot of course, little lady!

    I think that may well be the reason rightwingchristiancrazies and talk radio loons coined the term feminazi. Every time a man disagrees with a woman it is suggested he must be hung up on women’s rights.

    My generation is the generation that changed things so that you kids’ generation could consider access to birth control a right.
    You pooh-poohed my mention of ERA; but what you do not know apparently is that my generation fought damned hard for the privileges most women now think of as rights.
    Since our failure to pass ERA nobody has even tried to make that final move.

    I think Lane is a troglodyte; but even troglodytes have rights which precede by a long way the still very new and yet tenuous sexual freedoms enjoyed by heterosexual people.
    I can’t justify ordering an individual to do something which violates the first amendment guarantee that government shall make no laws regarding the free exercise of his religion.
    When you start talking about franchises and corporations, I’m right there with you; but when you are talking about joe sixpack, you’re on your own.

    If you want to start something which may finally kill off the entire notion of God, I’m your man; but until then…

  25. No doubt 30 years from now, I’ll be engaging in a debate with someone much younger. It will likely be about the direction of the Internet and its role in changing American (and global) politics and culture. At that time, to gain the upperhand, I’ll claim that the younger person doesn’t understand; that my generation was the generation that changed things so his generation could consider access to the Internet a birthright. I’ll rather conveniently forget it’s the accumulated actions of multiple generations that ultimately lead to human change. Then I’ll conveniently ignore the fact that it’s successive generations who sustain change, enhance it, and deepen it until it is so embedded in society acronyms are no longer needed to define and legitimize it.

  26. What makes Joe Sixpack so special? Franchises and corporations are made up of several or several hundred Joe Sixpacks. When it comes to running afoul of the law and flouting social contracts why is one more deserving of your scorn than the other?

  27. JC

    I can’t justify ordering an individual to do something which violates the first amendment guarantee that government shall make no laws regarding the free exercise of his religion.

    Nobody’s ordering Lang to do anything. He chose to enter a profession that may run afoul of his religious beliefs. He graduated with his degree in pharmacy in 1996. The birth control pill controversy had been underway for a long time by that point. It more sounds to me that he, and the Catholic Church, are using the pharmacy profession in order to make their point. It is a calculated effort by a religious group to infiltrate a profession to push a change in social policy.

    Don’t portray Lang as the victim here. He’s anything but.

  28. Jedediah Redman

    1.) “Nobody’s ordering Lang to do anything.”

    This whole conversation is about requiring (Lane or Lang) to stock and sell birth control products if he wants his license to remain valid, A.C.”

    2.) “What makes Joe Sixpack so special?”

    If you want to require a corporation or a franchise to sell birthcontrol, they can bring in an employee who is not hung up on the superstition in question.
    Joe Sixpack has to make the decision and carry it out.
    And I just will not subscribe to the notion that a corporation is a citizen and entitled to all of the rights of citizenship…

  29. JC

    No, it’s about setting ethical standards and practices for the profession as a whole. And I’m sure that most pharmacists would be in agreement.

  30. JC

    And I just will not subscribe to the notion that a corporation is a citizen and entitled to all of the rights of citizenship…

    I’d have to agree with that.

  31. You missed my point entirely. I did not say a corporation was a citizen. I asked you why you’ll put up with bad behavior from an individual that you won’t from a corporation. If you find it reprehensible in the latter, shouldn’t you in the former?

  32. Why are you so afraid to let the market decide?

    Are you afraid that people really won’t care about this ‘issue’ as much as you do?

    I went to SCHEELS yesterday, looking for Senior High Bronc clothing, and was told that they quit stocking it this year.

    I said their loss, and went to Universal Athletics.

    The market at work.

  33. Two words: reading comprehension.

    And I quote (myself):

    “In this case, John Lane has chosen a profession that lies outside the market, one that’s dependent on the government. He’s a pharmacist entirely at the luxury of the state…”

  34. So Rebecca, are you of the opinion that if no customers came into his pharmacy that the government would support his business?

    Two words: Common sense

  35. JC

    Why are you so afraid to let the market decide?

    There is no market in Broadus. He has the only pharmacy. The closest one is over 80 miles away. He has a state-licensed and regulated monopoly.

    If it were happening in Missoula, it would be a different story. But i don’t see any Catholic pharmacists in Missoula practicing their religion business similar to Lang. That’s because they know that people could and would go elsewhere.

    This whole thing is just an attempt by the Catholic Church to impose their anti-choice morality on a public that has no marketplace or alternative pharmacists. It’s wrong and it should be regulated.

  36. Jedediah Redman

    “You missed my point entirely. I did not say a corporation was a citizen. I asked you why you’ll put up with bad behavior from an individual that you won’t from a corporation. If you find it reprehensible in the latter, shouldn’t you in the former?”

    I’d say nobody missed anybody’s point, little lady. I’d say rather that you are christing instead of arguing.

    I’ll respond as though I believed you had missed my point, however–Religious people reside in a world for which they are not entirely responsible.
    I’ll grant them the same leeway I grant to any kind of handicap; but I do not feel it is necessary to deal that same way with corporations…

  37. Point, meet Eric; Eric, meet point. I’m not talking about the government propping up a business without customers (or even one that finds itself in financial trouble; I didn’t believe in bailing out the airlines after 9/11 and I don’t believe in doing the same for the mortgage industry because of their shoddy lending practices). I’m talking about an individual who chooses a profession that requires intense government control: a certain length of state-mandated training and a state-issued license. If the state has this level of control over John Lane, why shouldn’t it have control over his actions and require him to dispense medications prescribed by medical professionals?

    I’m glad you mentioned common sense, though. Ideology dictates that an individual such as yourself, a strong believer in the essential goodness of the free market, support that market in all its twists and turns. If the American market requires cheap labor to compete with overseas business; if the meat-packing, fruit- and vegetable-picking, hospitality and clothing manufacturing industries all need illegal immigrants to keep labor costs low, who are you to question them? If you don’t want the government regulating the supernatural, why would you want government regulating actual human beings?

    Or do you believe in common sense and think there are some things over which the market should not have complete control?

  38. I’d say rather that you are christing instead of arguing.

    Jed, I’m not the least bit interested in using words you’ve invented. Talk to me when you’ve decided to go with the King’s English.

  39. Jedediah Redman

    “This whole thing is just an attempt by the Catholic Church to impose their anti-choice morality on a public that has no marketplace or alternative pharmacists. It’s wrong and it should be regulated.”

    I’d love to see somebody try to regulate that kind of religious imperative.
    It would not be just the Catholics who would react to such efforts. BUSHISTAs have as swell imposed similar restrictions on most federally subsidized contraception–and Shrub’s crowd is not largely subscribed to the Vatican confessional…

  40. Jedediah Redman

    I say christing when I describe proselytizing–the willingness to lie like hell to bring souls to be bathed in the blood of perhaps Christ.

    You would be more comfortable perhaps with dissemblance, duplicity, dissimulation, fourflushing,
    dustups–anything to confuse the issue to win one’s point…

  41. Jedediah Redman

    The trouble with common sense is that it is so common…

  42. anything to confuse the issue to win one’s point

    I bow to the master.

  43. Jedediah Redman

    I’d prefer if you’d curtsy…

  44. Rebecca, Let’s look at your argument, apply it to a different business, and see how it looks:

    The IGA store in Broadus sells meats, that are federally inspected, and regulated.

    Their products are shipped in by truck, using gasoline that is taxed and regulated.

    The store consumes electricity, the rates overseen by our Public Service Commission.

    His employees are paid in accordance to state requirements, and the workplace safety is covered by OSHA.

    If the owner decides not to sell aspirin,should there be this hue & cry, and calls for his head?

    How about Pepsi Products?

    How about tobacco? It’s regulated/taxed/subsidized, should he be forced to sell it? For the greater tax benefits to the state?

    The answers are no, no, and no.

    Everybody down there shops out of town, and typically the pill is sold in 3-month quantities, so my argument to let the market decide is quite valid.

    You say a businessman should not let his personal values interfere with his business, yet you are perfectly willing to push your own liberal values on him.

    Hypocrisy at it’s finest!

  45. Then it’s unfortunate Mr. Lane has chosen a profession where “liberal values” predominate. Or, as everyone outside the far right in America likes to call them, science. John Lane refuses to accept the science behind birth control, yet he’s still willing to fill prescriptions for antibiotics and other medications designed to kill viruses that have co-evolved with our medical advances. Mr. Lane doesn’t believe in evolution. He’s a creationist. In this case, however, he’s easily able to overcome his superstitions rather than refuse to sell medicine that treats something in which he does not believe. My insistence that he stick to a single ethical standard is not hypocrisy. Instead, the hypocrisy lies in his random acceptance of science and medicine.

    As JC asked above,

    Will pharmacies descend into hovels that cater to special interest groups? [snip] Without complete trust, the occupation is rendered useless and dangerous, potentially deadly.

    A pharmacist with only a partial understanding of his occupation and science behind it is no pharmacist. Instead, he’s a danger to the community.

  46. Mark

    I think Eric has a valid point.

    That you couldn’t refute.

    It’s still private business.

  47. The business is private; his license is not.

  48. …and to stretch your argument a little bit more, if Barnes & Noble Booksellers decides to sell Ann Coulters book, and not Al Frankens, we should go after his business license! They’d be putting personal values on their own business!

  49. Dan

    Merry Christmas everyone,
    I thought that it was a very good point that was made about licensing of professionals, although the logic didn’t match. It is precisely true that life and death is at stake. If a man believes that his actions in selling a specific drug could end up in the death of a human being, you wouldn’t want him to have a license if he chose to continue selling that drug…. So here we have someone who makes the hard choice, with much deliberation and no little amount of research; and there is this reaction that now he should be regulated and forced to sell the drug. That doesn’t make sense. This is not proselytizing as one person put it. This is a moral question. Or perhaps pharmacists should be forced to sell other lethal drugs? There are quite a few papers written on the effects of oral contraceptives… They are not like your average Jelly Bellies! John Lane has made a moral decision based on the knowledge that he has on the subject, which is probably a whole lot more than you have, That is why he is educated and licensed to make such decisions. But JC is right, the market will likely decide. The question I have for Rebecca is: what is your stake? You seem quite invested, even though I’ll wager that this decision by John has absolutely no net effect on your life at all. There must be some deep-seated reason for your harsh reaction. There are many compassionate people, who are Christian, and who care very much about people, but who in that love for humanity have to make hard choices. I’m glad that John Lane is making a stand for what he believes, because it means that I can trust him to tell me straight when I need to know the truth about medications and their effects on the human body. You have to be able to see that he’s not making this choice to get rich off of the ignorance of people like other ‘drug dealers’.

  50. petetalbot

    “If a man believes that his actions in selling a specific drug could end up in the death of a human being, you wouldn’t want him to have a license if he chose to continue selling that drug…”

    Dan, John Lane isn’t selling cyanide or arsenic. It’s birth control pills, which have been approved by the FDA since the early 1960’s, I believe. Your logic escapes me on this argument.

    I’ve heard that jogging can dislodge a fertilized egg from the uterus, causing a miscarriage. Shall we outlaw jogging?

    And where do you stand on Viagra, Dan? Here’s a drug that doesn’t cure a disease, or reduce pain or suffering, but is often prescribed. It might give some old codger a heart attack, though. Shouldn’t John Lane be morally against the sale of Viagra.

    “They are not like your average Jelly Bellies!” says Dan about birth control pills.

    No sh*t, Dan. Neither are antibiotics, pain killers and allergy pills, which have about the same level of contraindications as birth control pills.

    Look, I don’t want any druggist making moral judgments on the drugs prescribed by my doctor, ever. It’s not in their job description.

    Finally, and I don’t want to second guess Rebecca, but her “deep-seated reason” probably has something to do with a respect for women’s rights everywhere because as you mention “this decision by John has absolutely no net effect on your (Rebecca’s) life at all.” She must be thinking about those women down there in Powder River country who have been denied access to their meds because of some fellow who thinks he has moral superiority to their needs and choices, their physician’s recommendations, and the FDA.

  51. Well said, Pete. Actually, Dan, John Lane’s decision does have an effect on my life and that of every woman in Montana. Any time a pharmacist decides he needs to interfere in the decisions made by a woman and her doctor or nurse practitioner, he emboldens those who feel they have the same right to meddle.

    John Lane has made a moral decision based on the knowledge that he has on the subject, which is probably a whole lot more than you have

    Oh? You mean the knowledge accumulated by being on the pill for half my adult life? Gee, Dan, one would think you were being patronizing there. So many pro-lifers and “compassionate Christians” seem to think women don’t have a thought in their silly little heads other than to take their pretty little Jelly Bellies every day. It may come as a surprise to you, but when we go on any medication our doctor discusses the side effects with us. Then there’s a follow up appointment with our medical professionals to make sure it’s working correctly. I hear that’s the way it normally works with any prescription whether you’re a man or a woman. But then women making intelligent, informed decisions about their bodies doesn’t fit with your worldview: one in which you feel the need to remind me that the pill isn’t a Jelly Belly. Get real.

    Eric, your arguments about the market would make sense if Montanans weren’t treated to the spectacle of the state taking action against two private businesses this past month. Both ran afoul of state licensing laws: Representative John Sinrud for claiming to be an architect without the required license, and Melissa Franklin up in Whitefish displaying a barber pole without the necessary barber training. Obviously, government does step in when private businesspeople do not follow the regulations required by a specific licensing board. If the Legislature, the voters, and industry professionals demand it, there are some things outside the market’s control.

  52. Jedediah Redman

    Dan, John Lane isn’t selling cyanide or arsenic. It’s birth control pills, which have been approved by the FDA since the early 1960’s, I believe. Your logic escapes me on this argument.

    The ingredient in those pills–in the eyes of the Church–and in the eyes of those who take that supertition seriously–faithful catholics–is as deadly to the proto-faetus as cyanide or arsenic.

    Your argument is specious on its face unless you are willing to step past the prohibitions contained within the first amendment…

  53. Your argument is specious on its face unless you are willing to step past the prohibitions contained within the first amendment…

    I think we can all agree that it would be inappropriate for a Christian Scientist druggist to let her religion make prescription choices for her patients. So, the question is, where do we draw the line?

    IMHO, it seems appropriate that druggists should dispense medicines and prescriptions that are legal and safe, regardless of their religious beliefs. If religion gets in the way of doing your job — esp. if people’s health and well-being are involved — maybe it’s time to find a new job.

  54. Jedediah Redman

    I agree except for the first amendment.

    It is quite easy for we who have no such superstitious hangups to say what religious people should and shouldn’t do; but I’m quite certain that is one of the notions the sacred framers had in mind when making the first amendment prohibition about making no laws pertaining to…

  55. …respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

    And neither should the government’s licensed representatives force it on the rest of us.

  1. 1 Why is Montana Interfering in Free Market Pricing for Family Planning Drugs? « 4&20 blackbirds

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