Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Washington state cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan-B
Religious freedom or religious zealotry?
U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has determined that dispensing Plan B violates certain pharmacists’ “freedom of religion” [“Judge: State can’t force druggists to sell Plan B,” NWThursday, Feb. 23].
The First Amendment guarantees us “free exercise” of religion. It does not guarantee the freedom to impose our religion on someone else, as that person is also guaranteed the free exercise of religion.
I have a few questions for Leighton: Does a law enforcement officer or prison guard of the Islamic faith have the “freedom” to impose sharia law on the public?
Should a bus or cabdriver of the Christian Science faith refuse to make stops at medical clinics, hospitals, or pharmacies? Can people of these faiths be refused employment because they may choose to “freely exercise” their religions? How would that refusal to employ square with our employment laws that require equal treatment regardless of “race, creed, religion, etc.”?
I fear Leighton’s ruling favors “free exercise” of only one religion, which inherently disenfranchises any other. Thomas Jefferson would be appalled.
— Paula Joneli, Des Moines
This is a sad day for Washington
Judge Ronald Leighton erred in reaching this decision. The first error occurred in this sad story when the pharmacists substituted their religious judgment for their professional and medical judgment.
Leighton substituted his legal judgment for their religious one, and handed down a decision that does not respect the inviolable right of a woman to basic health care. This is a sad day for Washington, and a sadder day for the district court.
— Ben Garwin, Seattle
Plan B acts before fertilization
The article today about the Plan B decision unfortunately repeated misinformation about how emergency contraception works. Emergency contraception works by preventing or delaying ovulation. No egg means no fertilization and so no pregnancy.
There are three kinds of emergency contraceptive pills available in the U.S.
Plan B and Next Choice contain the progestin levonorgestrel and work for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Ella contains ulipristal acitate and works for up to five days. If drug companies claimed that these medications prevented fertilized eggs from implanting, they could be sued for false advertising.
That is because the best research has shown no post-fertilization effects. Similarly, based on the most rigorous research available, both drugs have no effect on an established pregnancy.
— Valerie Tarico, Ph.D, Seattle