Pro-lifer convinces Toronto pharmacist to drop abortifacient morning-after pill
TORONTO, Ontario, January 6, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A Toronto pharmacist has decided to stop selling the “morning-after pill”, known also as Plan B, after promptings by a local pro-life advocate.
Pharmacist Allan Rothman, who runs The Medicine Shoppe at 515 Street Clair Avenue West, told LifeSiteNews Thursday that he has committed to no longer sell the drug. “By law I have to direct them to another pharmacy,” he explained. “But I have made that commitment not to sell it anymore.”
His reason “could be economic,” he added, “because some people came in and they said that they would bring me business. ... Based on what they said, I said I was going to stop carrying it.”
Dana Pavlick, a homeschooling mother of five, originally approached Rothman about the issue two weeks ago as she sought a pharmacy to fill prescriptions for her 92-year-old father who recently fell ill with pneumonia.
Pavlick had first gone to Shopper’s Drug Mart and Loblaws, but was disappointed to learn that they sold the drug. Knowing the morning-after pill is an abortifacient - one of its mechanisms is to prevent a newly-conceived embryo from implanting in the uterus - she and her husband had tried to dialogue with the two stores without success before going to Rothman’s, which is only a couple doors down from the local Shopper’s.
Pavlick told LifeSiteNews that as she entered Rothman’s store, she saw a single box of Plan B behind the counter, and a manual on the desk called “Emergency Contraception.” She told Rothman that she was switching from Shopper’s because they were selling Plan B, and she explained that the drug is an abortifacient. According to Pavlick, Rothman agreed.
Noting that he was Jewish, she compared his situation with guards in the Nazi death camps. At the Nuremberg trials the concentration camp guards had argued that they were not guilty in the murder of Jews and others because they were simply following orders, she said. Nevertheless the court found them complicit because they had not actively opposed the murders.
“We are facing the same verdict if we don’t refuse cooperation here too,” she said.
Clearly moved by the comparison, Rothman walked over to the shelf and removed the Plan B box, she said.
“Merry Christmas,” he told her.
“Merry Christmas and God bless you,” she responded. “I’ll be back - faithfully. ... There are a lot more like me who’ll be thankful too.”
In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Rothman confirmed several times that he had committed to stop selling the drug, but noted that he did have concerns. “What happens to the people who do go through with the pregnancy and you have an unwanted child?” he asked. “And there could be physical defects.”
“I’m Jewish and in Judaism it’s not considered a child until it’s born,” he said. “It’s a different interpretation of what a fetus is. Is there life? Personally, I am all in favour of bringing the child to term, et cetera, but I have concerns about what happens to that child afterwards.”
“By law I have to direct them to another pharmacy, which I will do. But I will not carry [the morning-after pill] myself,” he reaffirmed.
Rothman’s decision won him praise from pro-life pharmacist Cristina Alarcon, who practices in West Vancouver and also holds a Master’s degree in bioethics. “I applaud this pharmacist. I think that more pharmacists need to take a stand,” she said. “In the same way that we don’t sell cigarettes, we shouldn’t be selling products that potentially harm a human life.”
She pointed out the new 10-year study from Spain that found a 30% increase in contraception use alongside a doubling in the country’s abortion rate. “That speaks volumes for the push for more and more contraception,” she said. “Because here you have what they call emergency contraception to fix contraceptive failure. ... It’s not solving anything. And it’s, in fact, producing more and more abortions because women are taking more chances.”
“Even just from a purely sociological point of view, a pharmacist might say, ‘You know what, I don’t want to carry this product. It’s not solving, it’s not fixing anything,’” she said.
Pavlick said the experience taught her about the need to reject “the insidious temptation to practice self-censorship.”
“When we self-censor, we do so out of a fear that speaking the truth will cost us dearly when what I learned on this occasion is that speaking the truth costs the culture of death dearly,” she explained. “How many quiet, hidden victories there are to be had if we reject the mental Plan B which seeks to obstruct our airing the truth? Let go of the fear and let God lead.”
Contact information for Allan Rothman’s pharmacy:
The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy of Toronto, ON
515 Street Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6C 1A1
Mon to Thurs 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, Fri 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
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