What was the controversy over filling prescriptions for contraceptives?
I support a woman’s ability to have her prescription filled without delay. The controversy is related to a bill that came before the Senate Health Committee late in the session in 2008. When the bill was first introduced, there was a difference of opinion whether the pharmacist or the pharmacy should have the duty to fill the prescription. The 2008 bill died because the Assembly had already gone home when the Senate passed the bill. The fight was resolved in 2009 to require the pharmacy, not the pharmacist to dispense birth control. I helped craft this language and voted for the solution.
In 2008 Planned Parenthood thought the requirement should fall on the pharmacist to dispense a prescription for birth control. I thought, both, because of the strong conscience clause in the constitution and court decisions in other states, that the requirement should fall on the pharmacy. Without a conscience clause, any bill that applied to individual pharmacists would be unconstitutional. There were some harsh words and hard feelings. The next year Planned Parenthood changed its position, the law was passed and I voted for it.
Does a women who has a prescription in her hand really care if the pharmacy has a duty to fill the prescription or the pharmacist does? In other states that have tried to put the requirement on the pharmacist the law was overturned in the courts. By resolving the problem that way it was in 2009, a court battle was avoided and the requirement became law earlier.