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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Change to pharmacists' code of ethics a cynical betrayal of natural justice

22 May 2001

Change to pharmacists' code of ethics "a cynical betrayal of natural justice" Westminster, 22 May 2001--Pro-life campaigners have condemned the decision to amend the conscience clause from pharmacists' code of ethics. Mr Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: "Participants in the Royal Pharmaceutical Society's annual meeting appear to have voted for a clause in their code of practice which will enable employers to discriminate against conscientious pharmacists. The new clause could have been purpose-designed to exclude pharmacists with a conscience from the profession. "The pharmacists appear to have done this to themselves. It seems that this is not something imposed from outside, but a case of pharmacists turning on their colleagues. Such a move amounts to a cynical betrayal of professional solidarity and natural justice. "Now that the morning-after pill has been made available from pharmacists without a doctor's prescription, pharmacists have become front-line abortion providers. The morning-after pill can work by preventing the implantation of a newly conceived human being. Under the Abortion Act, doctors have the right in law to refuse to take part in abortions; the same should be the case with pharmacists. "This is a cynical and deeply regrettable act which we condemn. We urge the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to think again, especially as the supply of morning-after pills from pharmacists may be a criminal act under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861." SPUC was granted permission to bring a judicial review of the statutory instrument by which the government reclassified the Levonelle-2 morning-after pill as a drug available from pharmacists. The full hearing is expected to take place in July.

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