Saturday, June 21, 2008

O' come, all ye faithful...down to the pro-life pharmacy.

Robert Semler, DMC's head pharmacist and eventual 80-year old virgin.

If you've had a look at the Washington Post in the last week, you might have noticed a story on the DMC Pharmacy - “DMC” standing for “Divine Mercy Care.” A drugstore which will allow healthcare workers to exercise a “right of conscience” by not offering contraception (including condoms, birth control and Plan B emergency contraception), the DMC Pharmacy is a new “pro-life” pharmacy set to open this August. Where? Chantilly, Virginia, population 41,000.

The Post notes that the Pharmacy is an offshoot of Divine Mercy Care's Tepeyac Family Center, “an obstetrics-gynecology practice in Fairfax that offers 'natural family planning' instead of contraceptives, sterilization or abortion.” In other words, the practice is promoting the old-fashioned notion that women are meant to be baby-making machines. Welcome to the goddamned 1950s!

Unlike pharmacists and doctors in California, who are required to refer patients to pharmacists or doctors who will fulfill requests for birth control or abortions if they are morally opposed, members of Virginia's healthcare industry live under no such law and are legally allowed to let personal morals interfere. Pro-life pharmacists, says the Post, “believe that [contraception] can cause what amounts to an abortion and that the contraceptives promote promiscuity, divorce, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and other societal woes.” Never mind that not every promiscuous individual chooses safety first, that condoms actually prevent disease, or that unwanted children resulting from lack of contraception can cause woes, marital or otherwise.

Worse than this view, perhaps, is that of Lloyd Duplantis, coincidentally quoted owner of Lloyd's Remedies in Louisiana: “After researching the science behind steroidal contraceptives, I decided they could hurt the woman and possibly hurt her unborn child. I decided to opt out.” Isn't the point of contraception to prevent that unborn child from forming in the first place? And won't a lack of it increase the odds that a woman will get pregnant and seek an abortion which - quite possibly - could harm her?

Looking into this further, I discovered the Arlington Catholic Herald, which makes reference to the Chairman of DMC's Board, Dr. John Bruchalski, as stating that “both patients and professionals” want to maintain their faith and conscience while involved in medical care. Pointing to Pope Benedict's recent blessing of the St. John Leonardi statue in St. Peter's Basilica (Leonardi being the patron saint of pharmacists, apparently), Bruchalski is quoted here in support of Catholicism's natural link to medicine: “Leonardi, a pharmacist by trade, was transformed by the power of the Gospel and discovered his priestly vocation by practicing charity toward the poor. St. John Leonardi will intercede for us before the throne of God. The timing of this dedication could not have been better for DMC Pharmacy. It is fitting that we launch a pro-life pharmacy now under his patronage.”

Speaking of pharmacists performing charity toward the poor in Leonardi's name by not providing birth control, an unrelated story on the satisfaction of California's Bay Area residents with present health care (poorly concluded, unfortunately) brought to light an unemployed mother of ten who is struggling to wean seven of those ten off health care provided by Medi-Cal. And then there are, financial concerns aside, plenty of people in this country - in California alone - who abuse the very children who could have been spared by having never been born in the first place, thanks to the use of the contraception which pro-life pharmacists are attempting to block.

Public Image, Ltd. - Religion II
Billy Bragg - Help Save the Youth of America
The (International) Noise Conspiracy - The Sin Crusade

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