Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 18, 2004
Pharmacist swallows bitter pill
Catholic dispenser fights order to give morning-after pill
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Catholics must resist the social and verbal engineering aimed at the destruction of human life, says Calgary pharmacist Maria Bizecki. "If we are not persistent and don't challenge (pro-abortionists), then we are forced to live by their morals."
Bizecki is the Calgary pharmacist fired for refusing to fill a prescription designated to cause an abortion.
She spoke at an Oct. 12 fundraising event to support freedom of conscience causes. Some 75 people attended the $50 a plate buffet dinner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church. Archbishop Thomas Collins and former Alberta Report publisher Ted Byfield also spoke at the event organized by the archdiocesan Office of Family Life.
Two years ago Bizecki, a pharmacist at the Co-op Pharmacy, became the subject of an internal review by the Alberta College of Pharmacists after she refused to dispense the so-called morning-after pill and other products to which she is morally opposed.
Late last year she reached an agreement with her employer and the Alberta College of Pharmacists that allows her to refrain from providing customers with prescriptions designed to terminate unborn human life.
"My employer and my professional association were rigid in not accommodating my conscientious objection but finally we were successful in demonstrating that pharmacists can be accommodated if there is sufficient political will," she said at the dinner.
"In fact abortionists encourage the public to formally complain about pharmacists with conscientious objections."
Bizecki, who is active with Concerned Pharmacists for Conscience, has long been concerned with the right of pharmacists to refuse to have anything to do with products and services they find morally objectionable. She has been working to develop a conscience clause for pharmacists since 1996.
The agreement between Bizecki and her employer is a victory of sorts for pro-life pharmacists. Many such pharmacists have reservations about filling prescriptions or providing services that conflict with their beliefs about the sanctity of human life. The morning-after pill is particularly troublesome for pro-life pharmacists because it can result in the killing of a baby in its embryo stage.
"If you haven't noticed, there is a big fight that's going on in the world today and that's Christ's fight, not our own fight," Bizecki said. "I didn't do it on my own. It's Christ's fight and all of us are called in one way or another to have a role (in this fight)."
Bizecki said she has been investigated twice due to complaints against her for refusing to fill abortion pill prescriptions.
"The basis for my refusal to participate with abortifacient drugs is not exactly religious. It is essentially a humanistic one, shared by many individuals, regardless of their religious convictions. However, in my case, my religious convictions reinforced my humanistic convictions."
Pharmacists are not dispensing machines, but highly trained professionals with ethical and moral accountability, maintains Bizecki.
"I refused to be part of the social experimentation of the pro-abortionists and my challenge was to re-humanize the pharmacist," she said.
Collins praises Bizecki
Collins praised Bizecki for the way in which she took a stand on conscience in a hostile environment and said her actions are an example for the whole Christian community.
"The things that are most important in life require that integrity, that simple awareness of what is truly true and real and I think Maria has shown that."
Christians need to be detached but also connected to reality, he said.
"I think as we live our lives as citizens of our town or city or province we need to give proper deference to our local society and seek to make it flourish but we cannot draw our moral guidance from the environment in which we live because that environment is in many ways very disturbed.
"We are in a world which has in so many ways gone off the tracks and we need to be detached from that to be able to step back with a certain distance that comes from our love for this world and our love for our society."
Those who couldn't attend the dinner may send their donations to the Charitable Foundation for the Family, 9947 Warren Road SE, Calgary, AB T2J 1G8. Donations are tax deductible.
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