senate Bill S3146

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Prohibits pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Assembly Actions - Lowercase
Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jan 08, 2014 referred to higher education
Jan 30, 2013 referred to higher education

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S3146 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Law Section:
Education Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §6810, Ed L
Versions Introduced in Previous Legislative Sessions:
2011-2012: S894A
2009-2010: S2979

S3146 - Bill Texts

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Prohibits pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for philosophical, moral, or religious reasons.

view sponsor memo
BILL NUMBER:S3146

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the education law, in relation to
prohibiting pharmacists from refusing to dispense medication solely for
philosophical, moral, or religious reasons

PURPOSE: To prohibit a pharmacist from refusing to dispense or refill a
Prescription or non-prescription drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration solely on the grounds that the dispensing or refill of
the prescription or non-prescription would contravene the pharmacist's
philosophical, moral or religious beliefs.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends § 6810 of the Education Law to provide that no pharma-
cist may refuse to dispense or refill a prescription or non-prescription
drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug administration solely based on
the pharmacist's philosophical, moral or religious beliefs.

§ 2 is the effective date.

EXISTING LAW: New York State law does not currently have any statutory
prohibition on so-called "pharmacist refusals."

JUSTIFICATION: As part of a broadening anti-choice strategy, an
increasing number of physicians are refusing to write prescriptions for
contraception and more pharmacists are refusing to dispense birth
control, including emergency contraception (formerly known as the "morn-
ing-after pill"). Some states (Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and South
Dakota) have enacted statutes that explicitly permit pharmacists to
refuse to furnish contraceptives, or any prescription based on his or
her moral beliefs. No state has enacted a statutory ban on "pharmacist
refusals," although Massachusetts, Illinois and Wisconsin have taken
administrative actions to prohibit the practice.

Prescription refusal is a disturbing trend that can jeopardize woman's
reproductive health. Denying women their rights to timely access to
health care is an act of discrimination that could lead to an increased
number of unintended pregnancies.

Some pharmacists even go so far as to lecture women, humiliate them in
public, or refuse to hand back the prescription after they refuse to
fill it.

Illinois was the first state to issue a statewide regulation to address
this growing problem. In April 2005, the Governor issued an emergency
rule that requires pharmacies that stock emergency contraception to
accept and fill prescriptions for contraceptives without delay. The
Governor acted in response to complaints from two women who said that a
Chicago pharmacist had refused to fill their prescriptions for emergency
contraception.

Although the total number of pharmacist refusal incidents is unknown,
reports of pharmacist refusal date back to 1990. An April, 2005 New York
Times editorial cites some 180 reports of refusals in a six-month period
last year. Planned Parenthood has documented incidents in Georgia,
Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois (Chicago), and New Hampshire. To date, there
have not been any reported incidents in New York.

The moral or religious beliefs of a person's health care provider should
not limit their access to basic health care- The refusal to fill a
lawfully issued prescription is an indefensible abuse of power by phar-
macists and an act of discrimination against women. Health care provid-
ers such as pharmacists have no business forcing their own moral or
ethical views onto customers who may not share them, and those who
cannot dispense medicines lawfully prescribed should seek other employ-
ment.

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:; None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Takes effect on the first of November next succeeding
the date it shall have become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  3146

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                            January 30, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sens.  KRUEGER,  AVELLA, HASSELL-THOMPSON, MONTGOMERY --
  read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to  be  committed  to
  the Committee on Higher Education

AN  ACT  to  amend the education law, in relation to prohibiting pharma-
  cists from refusing to dispense medication solely  for  philosophical,
  moral, or religious reasons

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 6810 of the education law is amended  by  adding  a
new subdivision 14 to read as follows:
  14. NO PHARMACIST SHALL REFUSE TO DISPENSE OR REFILL A PRESCRIPTION OR
NON-PRESCRIPTION  DRUG APPROVED BY THE U.S. FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION
FOR RESTRICTED DISTRIBUTION BY PHARMACIES SOLELY ON THE GROUNDS THAT  TO
DISPENSE  OR  REFILL  THE  PRESCRIPTION  OR  NON-PRESCRIPTION DRUG WOULD
CONTRAVENE THE PHARMACIST'S PHILOSOPHICAL, MORAL, OR RELIGIOUS BELIEFS.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of November next succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.





 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD00947-01-3

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