This is the violation of rights I am most concerned about. I don't like being harassed by animal rights activists while I'm having a steak, I don't like being badgered by religious cranks banging on my doorbell, and I don't think people who've been going peacefully to their local pharmacies all their lives should suddenly have to endure being badgered by religious cranks while getting their prescriptions.
I agree for the most part, but I'm pretty sure this is all covered by current laws. The right of freedom of speech only applies in the public square. In private areas (homes or places of business), you are instead bound by the rules of the owner or manager.
True, although the community as a whole, through traditional law and regulation, has the legal and moral right to intervene when its interests are at stake. Pharmacies, like hospitals, clinics, ambulance services, and various other public and private medical facilities, are counted as part of the service network cities, counties, and states consider essential to public health and quality of life. Doctors and hospitals have to have available and competant pharmacy services to function.
Pharmacies are common enough in the US that this usually isn't a big issue.
The only public dispute on it I can recall in recent years was over Walgreens using exclusive contracts with hospitals and doctors as a weapon to drive all competing pharmacies out of business. This effort failed in some ways and succeeded in others. Having only one corporation providing pharmaceuticals in a good sized city is not good for public health. Competition promotes low costs and variety, even in that industry.
The difficulty, as I noted, is that if the city or state allows corporations the public choice of providing or not providing a service, pressure groups are free to campaign against them. In the Midwest, the key players are Walmart and Walgreens. If the religious right can bully these two corporations into not providing contraceptives, they've eliminated or seriously hindered access to them for half or more of the female population of the country. A colossal victory for the anti-contraception forces, the worst defeat for choice in the United States since the 1920s.
A pharmacy is a business, so it is up to the business owners or managers to determine what policy to impliment regarding "controversial" medicines. If the store policy is to fill a prescription for a particular drug, then the pharmacists should either fill the prescription or look for a new job. If the policy is to not fill the prescription, then the consumer should look for a different pharmacy.
Of course, if they can force women to worry about this issue every time they need contraception (or post-rape protection), they will be halfway to their goal, and the victory will be celebrated from a thousand pulpits across the land. For a century and more, since both doctors and pharmacists became "professionalized" to modern standards in the 1800s, the standard has been that doctors prescibe and pharmacists provide. The pharmacist does not have the right to intervene in a medical decision unless some dire mistake has been made--the accidental prescription of a lethal drug, for instance. If you allow pharmacists to violate that traditinal principal of professional conduct, the religious nags have defeated you, and they will continue to press for more privileges for their point of view and more restrictions on everyone else.
Possibly the honest thing to do would be for all pharmacies to have a picture of Reverend Dobson, staring out at the chairs in front of the counter, with the caption "You had sex again, didn't you, you slut!"
What really irks me is some of the right wing propaganda against high-dosage levonorgestrel (Plan B). Based on some of the idiotic nonsense, you'd think it was an abortion pill. It is actually identical to birth control pills and works in exactly the same way: preventing the release of an egg. If someone is already pregnant, it won't do anything.
Now that the religious right have embraced the principle of faith over science and politics over truth and morality, they aren't bound to use the scientific description of the drug. If they think it's evil, they can call it what they want. This is the same principal their activists follow in dealing with evolution and end-of-life issues. If they are against evolution, the libraries stuffed with evidence and argument cease to exist and it becomes controversial again. If the noisemakers decide Terri Schiavo is still a living consciousness, the MRIs and readings showin her brain has liquified are irrelevant.
Ye gawds, I'm depressing myself.