About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

6 Yale J. Health Pol'y L. & Ethics 269 (2006)
Conscience Clauses or Unconscionable Clauses: Personal Beliefs versus Professional Responsibilities

handle is hein.journals/yjhple6 and id is 273 raw text is: Conscience Clauses or Unconscionable Clauses:
Personal Beliefs Versus Professional Responsibilities
Martha S. Swartz, M.S.S., J.D.*
In 2002, a University of Wisconsin student brought a prescription for
Loestrin to pharmacist Neil Noesen, who was working in a local community
pharmacy in Menomonie, Wisconsin. Noesen refused to fill the prescription,
citing his conscientious objection to participation in refilling a contraceptive
order.' He failed to ask the student whether she had any medical conditions that
might make pregnancy dangerous.2 He also refused to inform     her of any other
local pharmacies that were capable of filling the prescription.3 When the student,
on her own, located another pharmacy, Noesen refused to transfer the
prescription, claiming that doing so would induce another to do a morally wrong
or sinful act pursuant to the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.4 As a
result, the student was unable to take her medication as prescribed and risked
Pharmacists in a number of other states-including California, Georgia,
Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio,
Texas, and Washington-have also refused to fill similar prescriptions.6 Some
pharmacists will only dispense birth control pills to married women; others
* Principal, Law Office of Martha Swartz, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Adjunct Professor of
Law, Rutgers School of Law-Camden. I would like to thank Mandy Knox, Allison Suflas, and
Sarah Wang for their valuable research assistance and Rutgers School of Law-Camden for its
1. Protection of Conscience Project, Police Used To Intimidate Objecting Pharmacist:
Statement of Neil Noesen, pharmD (cand.) (Nov. 20, 2003), http://www.consciencelaws.org/
2. Disciplinary Proceeding Against Neil T. Noesen, 01 P.H.M. 080, slip op. at 16 (Wis.
Pharm. Examining Bd. Feb. 28, 2005) (proposed final decision & order), aff'd, Noesen v. Wis.
Dep't of Reg. & Licensing Pharm. Examining Bd., No. 05CV212 (Wis. Cir. Ct. Feb. 3, 2006).
3. Id. at 5.
4. Id. at 5.
5. Id. at 20. Indeed, the student later became pregnant as the result of one missed dose of her
contraceptive medication. Id.
6. Rob Stein, Pharmacists' Rights at Front of New Debate; Because of Beliefs, Some Refuse
To Fill Birth Control Prescriptions, WASH. POST, Mar. 28, 2005, at A 1.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most