Proposed bill could allow pharmacists to refuse service due to religious beliefs

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - When a person goes to the pharmacy they expect to get their prescribed medication, but a bill that passed the Texas House of Representatives could change that.

"My biggest concern is limiting access to people for medication," said Katy Caldwell, CEO of Legacy Community Health Services.

Caldwell said fears an amendment to the "pharmacy sunset bill" House Bill 2950, would allow pharmacists to refuse filling prescriptions based on their religious beliefs.

"Then the pharmacist can say, for religious reasons, can say I'm not filling this and somebody doesn't have access to their medication and that is critically important," Caldwell said. 

Her concern is an amendment written by Republican state Rep. Matt Krause, of Fort Worth.

The amendment allows "free exercise of religion, regardless of whether the burden is the result of a rule generally applicable to all license holders or registrants, as applicable." 

"The most likely scenario to play out is particularly around birth control," Caldwell said. "So I'm a young woman of child bearing years.  My physician and I agree that I should go on a particular birth control pill. Then I go to the pharmacy and they won't fill it because the pharmacist for religious reasons doesn't believe in dispensing birth control medication."

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