DENTON, February 4, 2004 ( – Eckerd Corporation, the owner of the Eckerd Pharmacy chain, has fired three pharmacists six days after they refused to fill prescriptions for the abortifacient Morning After Pill. Gene Herr, one of the pharmacists, said that his refusal to fill the prescription was based on religious convictions. Herr said, “I went in the back room and briefly prayed about it. I actually called my pastor … and asked him what he thought about it.”

Joan Gallagher, spokesman for Eckerd said the company employment manual says pharmacists are not allowed to opt out of filling a prescription for religious, moral or ethical reasons. Herr was not aware of the company policy until he was fired. “In my mind if I agree to work for someone knowing that that’s their policy, then I should submit to that policy. But I didn’t even know about it,” he said.

Much is being made of the fact that although Herr had refused to fill such prescriptions in the past, this is the first time that the patient had been a victim of a rape. It is a common perception that abortion, including chemical abortion, is less morally offensive if the means of conception was rape. Last week, Lifesite reported that the pharmacy had been picketed by feminist protesters incensed that a rape victim had been refused an abortifacient drug.  In Canada, work continues by pro-life groups to implement protection of conscience legislation to prevent such discrimination. Canadian physicians have the right to refuse to commit immoral acts as part of their practice. However, no protection exists in this country for pharmacists or nurses.

The Eckerd web site states, “Eckerd Corporation, a subsidiary of J.C. Penney Company, Inc., is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida and is one of America’s largest retail drug chains with over 2,775 drug stores in 23 states.”

Wayne Harris is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Eckerd. To contact Eckerd call or fax Tami Alderman






Manager, Community Relations 727-395-6380 (Office)  727-395-7934 (Fax)  Allen Questrom is Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of J.C. Penney.  He may be contacted at JC Penney Company, Inc.  6501 Legacy Drive Plano, TX 75024 (972) 431-1000   Previous LifeSite coverage: