Question 36



I will relate this question to condoms, contraceptives, and abortifacients. In a Dec 05 survey of US pharmacists, 69% of respondents said that they were against state laws that would require them to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception, such as for the morning after pill. 

A Catholic pharmacist should not be forced to violate his or her conscience by selling condoms, contraceptives or abortifacients. Someone may say, “These items are legal. I have a right to buy them, and you have a duty to provide them.” But simply because something is legal does not mean it is moral. 

When slavery was legal, should an auctioneer have been penalized for refusing to sell slaves? When racial discrimination against Blacks was legal, should a businessman who refused to discriminate against Blacks, by hiring them and paying a standard wage, have been penalized? When the Nazi Party began its open persecution of Jews, should the churches have cooperated in this because it was the law? 

An immoral law has no moral authority. It should be resisted and changed. 

Some may say that a pharmacist has no right to push his values upon the public. But, by the same token, the public has no right to force its immorality, or dis-values, upon a pharmacist. “Service, not Servitude” is their motto. 

A conscientious pharmacist stocks hundreds of legitimate products in his shelves, and by so doing provides a great service to the public. Our government should not penalize him for refusing to supply contraceptives or abortifacients. If clients insist upon buying them, then they can go to another pharmacy. When you go to McDonald’s you should not expect to buy beer. You can go elsewhere to find beer. No big deal. 

A conscientious pharmacist knows that condoms, contraceptives, and abortifacients are very harmful. Condoms and contraceptives trivialize sex. They destroy an act of spousal love, which requires total commitment and openness to life, and reduce it to a mere act of sex. All this contributes to the 50% divorce rate, lack of male responsibility, 35% of children born outside of marriage, dysfunctional families, and increased abortions. All chemical contraceptives have potential for abortifacient effects. 

If a pharmacist cannot convince the chain for which he works to honor his conscience with a conscience clause in his contract, then he should consider starting up his own business. I encourage them to contact Pharmacists for Life International (, and and share information and experiences with them. There is much good information on this website. 

Since a Catholic pharmacist is a public person, like a doctor or politician, he must be conscious of the real possibility of public scandal. If he sells condoms or OCs, then he should not accept positions in his parish like catechist, extraordinary minister of Communion, lector, etc. There is a serious conflict between his Faith and his business. 

There are some evils in our society that will only change when enough conscientious people refuse to participate in them. Abortion and contraception are two of these. 

Speaking for myself, I cannot see how a Catholic pharmacist can justify staying in an offending pharmacy if there are other employment options available. And they are available: in 1) academia, 2) government, 3) private research/pharma, 4) hospitals, 5) managed care (PBMs) as a clinical pharmacist, 6) office-based practice that does medication therapy management in an agreement with physician(s) and is a non-dispensing role, and 7) medical science liaison for pharma. The same thing applies to Catholic doctors and nurses. 

Pro-life customers can help by refusing to patronize offending pharmacies, and by writing letters to the management explaining why they are taking their business elsewhere, and describing what kind of pharmacist they will patronize, viz., one with good morals and character, including a properly formed conscience.