Spanish Pharmacy Wins Right to Refuse to Sell Morning After Pills

Seville pharmacy had been fined €3,000 in 2008 for refusing to sell emergency contraceptive, but Spanish constitutional court overturns decision on appeal. A Spanish pharmacy that was fined for refusing to sell women morning-after pills has been told that its right to “ideological freedom” was violated by the sanction. The regional health authorities of Andalusia, in southern Spain, fined the pharmacy in Seville €3,000 (£2,130) in 2008, because it sold neither the emergency contraceptive morning-after pill nor condoms. Spanish pharmacies are required by law to provide both, with no prescription required. However, the constitutional court has overturned the decision on appeal. It took into account the fact that the owners of the pharmacy in question were officially registered as “conscientious objectors” on issues where they see a professional conflict between the law and their own beliefs. Apparently drawing a parallel between the morning-after pill and abortion, the court ruled in its sentence that in this case, legally obligating the vendor to sell the product clashed “with the concept advocated by [the pharmacist] regarding the right to life.” However, the court upheld the sanction related to the pharmacy’s refusal to sell condoms, stating that it saw there “no conflict of conscience with constitutional relevance”. It was a tight decision by the court, with several magistrates disagreeing with the final ruling. The judge overseeing the vote, Andres Ollero, admitted that it was a grey area and that he and his colleagues could not be “spiritual directors of citizens, instructing them on which areas of their conscience are protected by fundamental rights and which should be forgotten because they are twisted scruples.”...