WASHINGTON -- March 28 -- As highlighted in todays Washington Post, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the nations leading advocate for personal privacy and a womans right to choose, launched a campaign to protect womens access to birth control by combating the efforts of extreme anti-choice activists urging pharmacies not to fill birth control prescriptions.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President, Nancy Keenan, said: "In 2005 it is appalling that women do not know whether their prescriptions will be filled. Pharmacies have an ethical and legal obligation not to endanger womens health by withholding basic health care. Pharmacies have no right to override a decision made by a woman and her doctor."
Over the past year, there have been a number of reported incidents of pharmacies refusing to fill birth control prescriptions for ideological reasons. And right wing politicians are working with anti-choice activists to encourage such denials. This year alone, 11 states are considering legislation to permit pharmacists the right to refuse to fill womens prescriptions.
NARAL Pro-Choice America launched its campaign today emailing hundreds of thousands of activists around the country an Internet-based flash movie that puts the issue of access to birth control in the context of womens history month and obstacles women have faced in this country. The campaign includes two action steps for activists:
- A downloadable pledge for customers to take into their local pharmacy for pharmacists to fill out as they fill prescriptions for birth control; and
- A letter to send to national pharmacies asking for their promise that they will provide women unhindered access to their prescribed medications.
Activists participating in the campaign and national and state spokespeople are available to members of the media.
This campaign is part of NARAL Pro-Choice Americas ongoing effort to focus on preventing unintended pregnancy and reducing the need for abortion. Keenan said: "Timely access to birth control and emergency contraception prevents unintended pregnancies and therefore reduces the need for abortion. Pharmacies should be making it easier for women to get this medication instead of making it harder and politicians who talk about opposing abortion should be willing to join efforts like this to help reduce it."