By Peter J. Smith
NEW YORK, April 10, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Planned Parenthood is claiming another victory today in its decade-long war with Wal-Mart saying the retail giant will revise its policy over emergency contraception and mandate that its pharmacists distribute Plan-B “without delay,” and “without judgment.”
Planned Parenthood Federation of America claims to have received today a survey from Wal-Mart that guarantees customers “will now receive their prescriptions or over-the-counter products in store without discrimination (no harassment or lectures).”
Wal-Mart had announced previously in March 2006 that its pharmacies would stock the emergency contraceptive Plan-B, but back then allowed its pharmacists the right to conscientious objection and to refer customers to other pharmacies that would fill prescriptions for Plan-B.
The new policy revision means pharmacists will all be forced to provide emergency contraception (EC), whose high hormone doses act as an abortifacient by making the womb inhospitable to an embryo before implantation.
“This is a huge victory for women’s health and for Planned Parenthood’s campaign for accessible birth control,” PPFA President Cecile Richards said in a press statement. “We’re pleased that Wal-Mart has changed its policy to meet the real-life health care needs of women and families.
“With its new and improved policy, Wal-Mart joins other women-friendly pharmacy chains like CVS, Eckerd and Medicine Shoppe, RiteAid and Walgreens. Our Planned Parenthood Pill Patrol will continue to focus on getting more major retailers to follow in Wal-Mart’s footsteps — including Target, Giant, Safeway and Winn Dixie, which have a long way to go.”
However, Wal-Mart’s policy changes are due more to the bludgeoning power of Planned Parenthood’s legal hit squads more than its grassroots “Pill Patrol” and “Fill My Pills Now” volunteers, who survey pharmacies about availability of EC and refusal policies.
Since 1997 Planned Parenthood has waged a vicious struggle to force Wal-Mart to provide abortifacient emergency contraception, threatening to boycott Wal-Mart for refusing to distribute Preven, the EC then in vogue. While Planned Parenthood has never managed to get significant grassroots support for a boycott, it has resorted instead to legal intimidation through an army of lawyers and key political allies in state governments.
In February 2006, the Massachusetts Pharmacy Board – at behest of 3 women, Dr. Rebekah Gee, nurse and midwife Julia Battel, and Katrina McCarty – ordered Wal-Mart to carry emergency contraception Plan-B in its pharmacies throughout the state. The three women had filed a lawsuit claiming they were wrongly denied the drug claiming it was “commonly prescribed medicine.” The Associated Press discovered they were suing Wal-Mart with the help of abortion rights groups and their lawyers, and LifeSiteNews.com learned that Gee and Battel are both activists pushing EC.
Planned Parenthood also received an additional boost in its anti-Wal-Mart jihad when Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal threatened to halt insurance coverage at Wal-Mart’s pharmacies for Connecticut’s state employees if the company did not bow to pressure and provide abortifacient EC.
For a long time Wal-Mart had defended its refusal to carry EC saying it “chooses not to carry many products for business reasons,” and gave poor sales demand as the reason for not supplying the drug.
While Wal-Mart may be making a business decision to cut its losses with Planned Parenthood, it marks a radical departure from its pro-life founder Sam Walton, who said, “Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.”
See previous coverage by LifeSiteNews.com:
Wal-Mart Bows to Abortion Zealots on Plan-B
Wal-Mart Ordered to Carry Abortifacient Morning After Pill
Wal-Mart Lawsuit Staged – Women “Denied’ Abortion Drug Admit Scheming