Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

Are Pro Life Drugstores Legal, Ethical?

Posted in Health,Religion,Science by Elliott Back on June 29th, 2008.

An article in the Washington Post, ‘Pro-Life’ Drugstores Market Beliefs: No Contraceptives For Chantilly Shop, introduced me to the concept of a “Pro-life Drugstore.” This is a place were prescriptions are filled, but not for prophylactics, birth control, or Plan-B:

When DMC Pharmacy opens this summer on Route 50 in Chantilly, the shelves will be stocked with allergy remedies, pain relievers, antiseptic ointments and almost everything else sold in any drugstore. But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.

That’s because the drugstore, located in a typical shopping plaza featuring a Ruby Tuesday, a Papa John’s and a Kmart, will be a “pro-life pharmacy” — meaning, among other things, that it will eschew all contraceptives.

The pharmacy is one of a small but growing number of drugstores around the country that have become the latest front in a conflict pitting patients’ rights against those of health-care workers who assert a “right of conscience” to refuse to provide care or products that they find objectionable.

“The United States was founded on the idea that people act on their conscience — that they have a sense of right and wrong and do what they think is right and moral,” said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel at the Thomas More Society, a Chicago public-interest law firm that is defending a pharmacist who was fined and reprimanded for refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control pills. “Every pharmacist has the right to do the same thing,” Brejcha said.

They cite a think tank who has the same immediate objection that comes to my mind:

“If you are a health-care professional, you are bound by professional obligations,” said Nancy Berlinger, deputy director of the Hastings Center, a bioethics think tank in Garrison, N.Y. “You can’t say you won’t do part of that profession.”

There’s a good article here about why faith must not trump the Hippocratic oath. It’s for the same reason that in diagnosis Doctors follow established statistical treatment plans; they’re proven to optimally treat patients. Some religions don’t allow blood-transfusions, yet they are critical processes for recovery in many severe traumas. As a medical professional, can you ethically refuse to dispense a medication simply because you find it personally distasteful?

To Annoy Online Illegal

Posted in Blogging,Computers & Technology,Law,Politics by Elliott Back on January 10th, 2006.

Many sources are reporting the cnet post Creata an e-nnoyance, go to jail, which notes that a new recently passed law (Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act of 2005) outlaws anonymous annoying:


(a) In General- Paragraph (1) of section 223(h) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1)) is amended–

(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `and’ at the end;

(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking the period at the end and inserting `; and'; and

(3) by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:

`(C) in the case of subparagraph (C) of subsection (a)(1), includes any device or software that can be used to originate telecommunications or other types of communications that are transmitted, in whole or in part, by the Internet (as such term is defined in section 1104 of the Internet Tax Freedom Act (47 U.S.C. 151 note)).’.

(b) Rule of Construction- This section and the amendment made by this section may not be construed to affect the meaning given the term `telecommunications device’ in section 223(h)(1) of the Communications Act of 1934, as in effect before the date of the enactment of this section.

This rewrites an older law prohibiting telephone annoying. The nice thing about it, technically, is that no online communication is anonymous because you leave comments with a unique IP address. So bloggers, you’re safe.

Disclosure & Legal Notice

Posted in by Elliott Back on June 29th, 2005.

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