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February 14, 2013

NARAL Pro-Choice America Calls on Congress to Stop Harassment of Women by Pharmacists

Washington, D.C. – Today, Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, commended Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) for re-introducing the Access to Birth Control (ABC) Act, a bill to ensure women get unfettered access to birth control at the pharmacy counter. The legislation was introduced in both the House and Senate today.

Hogue said that federal action is necessary given the pervasive reports of pharmacists who are personally opposed to contraception arbitrarily refusing to fill women’s prescriptions. When passed, the ABC Act will ensure that pharmacies provide women access to both over-the-counter and prescription birth control without delay or harassment, or face civil penalties.

In an effort to show the extensive and ridiculous nature of the harassment, NARAL Pro-Choice America also compiled a list of personal stories from women who have been denied access to birth control at the pharmacy counter.

“The white coat does not make pharmacists the judge and jury of our medical decisions. Their job is to ensure that decisions made by women with our doctors are carried out, not to impose their personal opinions from behind the counter,” said Hogue. “Obstructing access to medications fundamental to women’s health is dangerous and offensive. Thankfully, pro-choice champions like Rep. Maloney and Sen. Lautenberg have worked tirelessly on our shared goal of improving women's access to contraception. Congress should support this common-sense policy.”

NARAL Pro-Choice America has activated its over one million member-activists to contact their elected officials in Washington D.C. in support of the ABC Act.

Hogue continued, “The fact that the same people who attack legal abortion also want to block women's access to contraception would be laughable if it didn’t have real consequences. Obviously, contraception is one of the best ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and thus reduce the need for abortion. The idea that a pharmacist can deny or even shame a woman seeking contraception is outrageous and must come to an end.”

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