February 23, 2007
Making pharmacists fib

I'm a little late to the party on the demerits of HB23, which would force pharmacists to read a "warning" about the morning after pill to purchasers, as well as post a sign and keep records like they do for anything that could be turned into crystal meth. Vince was on it shortly after it was pre-filed. I got an email yesterday from Scott Henson which included a release from the ACLU of Texas about their opposition to HB23 that I thought was worth highlighting. From the release:

Unnecessary record keeping provision treats "morning after" pill like an illicit drug, creates a stigma, and may intimidate some women.

HR 23 creates a requirement for sale that includes written consent by the purchaser, and storage of the written record (with the purchaser's name) for 2 years. This is similar to the logging now required for substances that can be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, or the record keeping required to track prescriptions of addictive and often illegally obtained medications. The keeping of these records will discourage women from purchasing EC by telling them that their actions to prevent an unwanted pregnancy (the most private of actions) are being recorded and kept outside of their own control. Mistakes in such a log cannot be effectively corrected.

HR 23 places undue burden on business.

HR 23 requires pharmacies to post a sign with the misleading notice printed on it, add printed notices to the purchaser's other drug information, and requires pharmacies to maintain logs of all purchasers for two years although there is no evidence that such a regulatory system will provide any medical benefit to the patient.

It's a burden on the business, and it stigmatizes the customer, and for what? The purpose of this bill is to make contraception harder to get in Texas. The sponsor, Frank Corte, tried to get a so-called "conscience clause" bill passed last session, but failed. This isn't about abortion - emergency contraception operates by inhibiting ovulation, rather than preventing implantation of a fertilized egg - it's about birth control. How far will the likes of Frank Corte go to control other people's sex lives?

One more point:

HR 23 will post sex education materials in public places.

The two foot sign required by this bill must be placed beside the cash register in all pharmacies, including pharmacies in large grocery stores and other open areas where small children will be present. Whether their parents choose so or not, small children will read about the actions of sperm and egg and the implantation on the womb, and are likely to have questions that may be difficult to handle while pushing a shopping cart full of groceries. The ACLU supports age appropriate sex education by parents and credentialed professionals.

Pretty ironic, isn't it? We can't give girls a vaccine that would protect them against cancer because some people think it'll make them promiscuous, but we can force your local CVS to post big signs about how babies are made where your kids can read them whether you want them to or not. That makes sense.

Anyway. Keep an eye on HB23, and tell your Rep what you think about it.

UPDATE: Miss Melissa was on this before as well, and she has the actual language that the warning sign would require. Watch your blood pressure as you read it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on February 23, 2007 to That's our Lege