Planned Parenthood Of The Great Northwest had filed a complaint with the Idaho Board Of Pharmacy after one of their nurses tried to fill a prescription for Methergine, which helps stop uterine bleeding. The pharmacist demanded to know whether the patient had had an abortion, which the nurse refused due to privacy laws. When the nurse asked for a referral, the pharmacist hung up.
While Idaho does have a conscience clause that allows pharmacists to refuse to fill certain prescriptions, Methergine is not on the list of drugs covered under that clause, because it doesn't cause abortion or contraception. So why wasn't the pharmacist disciplined?
The problem is, the state board is charged with enforcing the Idaho Pharmacy act, which is different from the conscience clause and is far more expansive on what drugs can be refused and why. On the other hand, as Amie Newman notes at RH Reality Check, the conscience clause is supposed to cover life-threatening situations:
If a health care professional invokes a conscience right in a lifethreatening situation where no other health care professional capable of treating the emergency is available, such health care professional shall provide treatment and care until an alternate health care professional capable of treating the emergency is found.
Still, we don't know that there were no alternatives available to this patient, and given that the case took place in the Boise area rather than somewhere more far-flung, it's unlikely. In any case, Planned Parenthood isn't going to take the route of proper enforcement of the conscience clause — it told The Idaho Press Tribune it's going to try to get the whole thing repealed at the legislative level.
Idaho Pharmacist Who Refused To Fill Prescription Gets Pass [RH Reality Check]
No Action Against Nampa Pharmacist [Idaho Press Tribune]
Earlier: Pharmacist Refuses Anti-Bleeding Drug To Woman Because She May Have Had Abortion
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