Under New Kansas Law, Pharmacists Can Deny Birth Control Prescriptions

| by Michael Allen

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (R) signed a bill yesterday that will allow pharmacists in the state to refuse to fill a prescription that they believe could be used to induce abortion.

The law says that pharmacists cannot be required to provide a drug or devise that they think “may result in the termination of a pregnancy," but the law does not define which drug in particular, leaving it up to the pharmacist's discretion.

The Wichita Eagle reports that the law could also “allow a doctor to refuse to provide chemotherapy to a pregnant cancer patient because it might end her pregnancy.”

Kansas already has a law that allows medical professionals to refuse to assist in abortion procedures. Critics say this new law could stop women from getting contraceptives.

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The Chicago Tribune reports:

"Women who want to plan for their families should have access to medications they need," said Julie Burkhart, founder and executive director of Trust Women, an abortion-rights group
in Wichita.

Burkhart said the law could create a hardship for women in small towns with a sole pharmacist who may refuse to fill certain prescriptions. In larger cities, women will have to make sure they go to a cooperative pharmacist, she added.

"Women should not have to go armed with a lot of research when looking for a physician or pharmacist in the community," Burkhart said.