"Morning-after" Pill Spurs Call for Conscientious Objection

A Leading Catholic Pharmacist Cites Abortifacient Effect

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MADRID, Spain, FEB. 19, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Given the imminent distribution throughout Spain of the «morning-after» abortive pill, the president of the Spanish Association of Catholic Pharmacists has called on his colleagues to be conscientious objectors.

In an interview with the weekly newspaper Alfa y Omega, of the Archdiocese of Madrid, José Carlos Areses admitted that conscientious pharmacists might suffer financially.

Areses gave an example he himself experienced. «A state office asked me for no more and no less than 1,000 boxes of condoms,» he recalled. «I don´t stock them because I don´t want to. When I said no, not only did I lose that order but all others of that important company. It cost me, but I had to be consistent.»

«In face of the culture of hedonism and of yielding to everything,» he continued, «a pharmacist must have a very clear attitude: life above everything else, from the beginning until the end. The Pope has asked us for our contribution. The Church needs us and we must be consistent.»

According to an official of the Spanish Pharmaceuticals Agency, the abortive pill will be sold in pharmacies throughout the country beginning this month.

«This presents a big problem for all of us,» Areses warned. «The pharmacist will be subjected to enormous pressure. They already won a goal from us with contraceptives. They started by saying that they were ´anovulants´ and, in the beginning, they had many counter-indications; then they streamlined them.

«Each time they had fewer secondary effects; eventually, they were no longer contraceptives impeding ovulation, but many also served as abortifacients, because they impeded the imbedding of the fertilized ovum. Indeed, the prospectus of the morning-after pill states that, in fact, its action is 50% contraceptive. The other 50% is against implantation, in other words, abortifacient.»

He said the current tragedy lies in the substitution of surgical abortion by chemical abortion.

«Surgical abortion is traumatic for a woman, because it is surgery, it is a very hard moment for her,» Areses observed. «Now, instead, we are falling into saying: We are going to overcome that and the woman will be able to make her child disappear without the need of a surgeon. …

«The big problem is that today with these pills it seems that no one has killed any one. This is the great problem and our great responsibility as pharmacists.»

Areses said that a pharmacist has the right to conscientious objection, something that is «recognized by the Spanish Constitution.» Likewise, he assures that this right would be defended better if the corporation of Spanish pharmacists adopted an ethics code, as, for example, the doctors have.

Areses concluded by asserting that behind the morning-after abortive pill «enormous quantities of money move. That really is true. There are huge, impressive interests.»

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