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Monday, November 14, 2005

Target's nonsense

Political? Yes, partly. Minnesota? Definitely. So there's no reason not to comment on Target's actions of late.

I am referring, of course, to Target pharmacists who refuse to dispense Plan B emergency contraception. Like many people, I e-mailed Target about this ridiculous practice, and I got the same e-mail back that is posted over at Americablog. There is also a good discussion of the issue at that site.

I'm with John: Target's explanation that they have to allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense prescriptions is in accordance with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Now, I'm not a lawyer, but I think that the act protects people from being discriminated against with regards to their religion, which is a good thing. It also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to respect employees' religious beliefs if it doesn't interfere with their jobs, which again is not a terrible thing. However, I'm pretty sure that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not give employees the right to refuse to do their job and use religion as the excuse. However, this is exactly what Target is arguing.

Actually, Target knows that this excuse is a bunch of bull, because they say it only applies to Plan B. So, presumably, a Catholic Target employee would not be allowed to refuse to ring up a box of condoms because he or she is opposed to birth control. So Target would be going against their "interpretation" of the law, but no problem. I specifically asked in my e-mail to Target if a Catholic employee would be allowed to refuse to ring up condoms; apparently, the answer is no.

There are a few good solutions to this problem. First, Target could stop caving in to theocrats and require its employees to do their jobs. Or the FDA could stop playing politics and approve Plan B for over-the-counter sales. My personal favorite, and the most extreme, is to simply legalize all drugs and get the pharmacists out of the way entirely.

I'm really getting sick of religious zealots making medical decisions for me.


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