Many religious people, in particular Catholics,
object to contraceptives such as the
morning after pill. Reuters
By Harry FarleyChristian Today
Pharmacy regulators have removed a 'conscience clause' from their standards code meaning Christians and other religious people could be forced to ensure that contraceptives and other medicines are handed out against their beliefs.
The General Pharmaceutical Council (GphC) said allowing personal religious beliefs and values to dictate dispensing practice was 'not compatible' with a 'person-centred care' they wanted to offer.
The regulatory body that sets standards across British pharmacists said they wanted to ensure patient care is 'not compromised by religious belief'.
The changes prompted fears expressed in a consulation document that Christians could be forced into handing out suicide pills if euthanasia or assisted-dying was legalised.
Despite 71 per cent of the public objecting to the change in the consultation, the Council confirmed the measures after a final consultation at a meeting on April 6. Chief executive Duncan Rudkin said the shift of balance away from religious belief of the pharmacist onto the patient 'represents a significant change'.
He said: 'We understand the importance of a pharmacy professional's religion, personal values or beliefs, but we want to make sure people can access the advice, care and services they need from a pharmacy, when they need them.'
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