Tuesday 16 September 2008

Conscientious objection to supplying birth control

A pharmacy in Michigan has stopped selling birth control drugs and devices because of the abortifacient threat they can pose. Mike Koelzer, the pharmacist (pictured) explained how some birth control makes the womb hostile to newly-conceived embryonic children: "It would be similar to taking a field, putting an asphalt parking lot on top of it, and then trying to grow a lawn on it".

Here in Britain Dr Evan Harris, the extreme anti-life MP, has tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology (HFE) bill aimed at removing protection from such pharmacists. If passed the amendment would prevent anyone using the conscience clause in the 1967 Abortion Act to defend their decision not to supply (or to be complicit in supplying) birth control. The amendment basically denies that killing an embryo before his or her implantation in the womb is an abortion. The amendment seems to be designed to force all doctors, nurses and pharmacists to prescribe, provide, dispense or administer birth control when requested to do so.

Dr Harris is a front-bench spokesman of the Liberal Democrat party. Let me hasten to add that SPUC is neutral in terms of political parties. The party's constitution claims that Liberal Democrats "champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals", "acknowledge and respect [individuals'] right to freedom of conscience" and "reject all prejudice and discrimination based upon [inter alia] religion". (It should be noted that many conscientious objectors to embryo killing, while basing their objection on the scientific fact that life begins at fertilisation/conception, are also motivated to object by their religious beliefs.)

Perhaps Dr Harris might like to explain to his party why he feels he has permission to dissent from its core principles, by promoting amendments which violate them?