By Terry Vanderheyden

ST. LOUIS, Missouri, January 27, 2006 ( – A Target pharmacist has lost her job for refusing to dispense or refer for the abortifacient morning-after pill.

“For me, life begins with two cells,” said Heather Williams, explaining that the so-called emergency contraception pill, Plan B by Barr Pharmaceuticals, often prevents implantation of a newly formed human embryo within the uterine wall – which, of course, constitutes abortion. The same mechanism is responsible for the sometimes abortifacient effect of the regular birth-control-pill.

According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, Williams has refused to dispense or refer for the abortifacient for the past five years while working as a part-time Target pharmacy employee. She argues that to refer patients to a dispensary where they can find them is equally immoral. “I just can’t be a link in the chain at all,” Williams said.

Williams, who is a mother of three, lost her job over the issue as of January 1. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of Missouri. She says, however, that the blame for her dismissal belongs to Planned Parenthood, not the Target store. Planned Parenthood has spearheaded efforts across the US to mandate that pharmacists co-operate in chemical abortion.

Williams and attorney Ed Martin have appeared on television to argue that pharmacists are the scapegoats in the battle over Plan B. Martin is also the attorney for four Walgreens pharmacists from across the river in St. Louis, Illinois, who lost their jobs for the same reason. The four refused to abide by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s decree mandating that pharmacists dispense the abortifacient.

Blagojevich warned Illinois pharmacists in April to dispense the abortifacient morning-after pill or face legal backlash – despite a state statute that exempts pharmacists from participating in practices contrary to their religious views.

Williams said that Target forced pharmacists state-wide to sign a “conscience clause” last fall agreeing to dispense the abortifacient or refer to another pharmacy that does. She wrote the chain a letter December 1 telling them she could not sign the clause. “We had to make sure it was in stock, and even give directions to the store,” she said. “I would be a participant.”

Williams is losing her job even though the Target store where she worked has never stocked Plan B.

See related coverage:
  Walgreens Disciplines Four Pharmacists for Refusing Abortifacient Morning-After Pill Prescriptions