MADISON, Wisconsin, March 2, 2005 ( – A Wisconsin judge has recommended a Catholic pharmacist be ordered to attend ethics classes because he refused to fill a prescription for contraceptives, saying he violated the code of ethics.  Administrative Law Judge Colleen Baird ordered the punishment for Neil Noesen of St. Paul, Minnesota, who in July 2002 refused to dispense the contraceptive or transfer the prescription to another pharmacy because he said his Catholic faith prevented him from participating in the transaction.  Noesen’s attorney, Krystal Williams-Oby, said Baird went beyond Wisconsin law, which does not address the issue, in her decision. Neither does the Pharmacy Examining Board address it, she said. “What the state is doing is holding my client to a standard that does not exist.” Williams-Oby said the finding violates the rights of her client and of other pharmacists who have a moral objection.  Baird said state rules prohibit pharmacists from engaging in practices that could be a “danger to the health, welfare, or safety of a patient or public.” Baird found Noesen put the woman at risk of an unwanted pregnancy through his actions, which by the judge’s implication was a danger to her.  Baird’s recommendation will be sent to the Pharmacy Examining Board, which will rule on it in April.


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