Kansas Lawmakers Pass Bill Giving Pharmacists Leeway on Abortion Drugs
A bill that would allow pharmacists to bow out of providing drugs they believe might cause an abortion cleared the state legislature Wednesday.
The Senate voted 23-16 to approve the bill, which is primarily intended to broaden legal protections for health-care providers who don’t want to be involved in abortion procedures.
Already passed by the House in March, the bill now awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a staunch opponent of abortion.
Opponents of the bill in the Senate worried about its broad language prohibiting anyone from being required to prescribe or administer a drug they “reasonably believe” might result in the termination of a pregnancy.
They contended the bill could unintentionally lead to pharmacists or physicians refusing to provide life-saving drugs that might have the side effect of ending a pregnancy.
“This bill carries with it opportunities for unintended consequences where a person with medical skills and training could be in a situation to deny help resulting in the death of a mother,” said Sen. Tim Owens, a Republican from Overland Park. “I do not accept that as a pro-life choice.”
Others, such as Planned Parenthood, believe the bill is about restricting birth control. They think it will clear a path for pharmacists to refuse a request for something like the “morning-after” pill, which the Mayo Clinic says can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.