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FIRST-PERSON: You call this pro-choice?

McMINNVILLE, Ore. (BP)–In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a woman has a “right” to an abortion. In so doing it set the stage for a scenario in which the government could force an abortion to be provided for a woman.

When the justices “discovered” (or invented) the “right” of a woman to terminate her pregnancy, they likely imagined that abortion doctors always would be available.

But what happens if doctors no longer perform abortions?

If abortion providers from sea to shining sea suddenly had an attack of conscience and chose to stop offering their services, how would the government respond? Would the state pass a law mandating that physicians perform abortions?

Something similar already is taking place in Illinois. On April 1, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich issued an emergency rule that forces pharmacies to fill prescriptions for the controversial “morning after pill,” a drug that seeks to thwart pregnancy after intercourse.

The “morning after pill,” also known as “Plan-B,” is deemed “birth control” by abortion advocates. But abortion opponents note that the drug can block implantation of a tiny embryo in the uterine wall, which, they say, is de facto causing an abortion.

The governor’s action came in response to two complaints against a Chicago Osco pharmacy where a pharmacist declined to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill. It was suggested that the ladies seeking the prescriptions could come back later when another pharmacist would comply with their request.

It should be noted that pharmacies are not required by law to dispense all types of drugs. Wal-Mart refuses to offer Preven, one form of the “morning after pill.” However, in the case of “Plan-B” drugs, a pharmacy that does not carry the product must provide a referral.

Keep in mind that the pharmacist in question did not say the women’s prescriptions would not be filled. The pharmacist only indicated that she would not personally fill them. The women were assured they would receive their prescriptions, though it would entail a minor inconvenience.

Also, the pharmacist seemed to be operating well within the scope of the “Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience Act” which holds that “Physicians and health care personnel” are granted the right to refuse “to perform, assist, counsel, suggest, recommend, refer or participate in anyway in any particular form of health care services which is contrary to the conscience of such physician or health care personnel.”

Even the American Pharmacist Association holds that pharmacists can’t be compelled to dispense a medication to which they have moral objections.

None of the aforementioned facts held sway with Blagojevich. The governor issued an emergency order that forces all pharmacies to fill prescriptions for the morning after pill. While the order is good only for 150 days, the governor is seeking to make it permanent.

“We are hopeful that governors across the country will follow his [Blagojevich’s] lead,” said Nancy Keenan, national president of NARAL Pro-Choice America -– a vehemently pro-abortion organization formerly known as the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League.

There you have it. Keenan wants the state to force pharmacies to provide the controversial morning after pill whether they want to or not.

You can rest assured that Keenan and her ilk are also in favor of forcing doctors to perform abortions against their will — which already is being done.

In 2002, New York City required OB/GYN residents in the city’s 11 public hospitals to be trained to perform abortions. That same year, California enacted a state law that required abortion training at the state’s six public medical schools.

If a woman has a “right” to contraception, which the state says includes the “morning after pill,” then the government can force a pharmacist to fill a prescription which he or she finds objectionable. It even can mandate a pharmacy carry any and all Plan-B-type drugs.

If a woman has a “right” to an abortion, then the government can require a medical student be trained to do abortions. It can even force doctors to perform abortions.

Imagine that every doctor in America suddenly chose to stop performing abortions. Given that Roe v. Wade established abortion as a “right,” what would the state do? What would you want the state to do? Think about it and then tell me who really is “pro-choice” in America.

Our founding fathers believed the primary function of a government should be to secure the rights of its citizens. However, it is doubtful they believed guilt-free, consequence-free sex should be deemed a fundamental right.
Kelly Boggs is pastor of the Portland-area Valley Baptist Church in McMinnville, Ore. His column appears each Friday in Baptist Press.

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  • Kelly Boggs