Response to my previous post in re "Pharmacist Denies Patient..."
1) I feel that perhaps the whistleblowing comparison was somewhat off-the-mark or unnecessary. Either way, the following do relate and provide a better picture of my argument.
Moral obligations of the pharmacist should be bifurcated as such: a) the professional obligations of the pharmacist, which in turn become the moral prescriptions of the role; and, b) the moral obligations of the person who happens to fill the role. So the moral obligations of the pharmacist was to provide medicine for the welfare of the patient in a safe manner. The moral issue for the individual was the conflict between the morals of the profession and their own personal moral beliefs. How are we to evaluate this dilemma?
Applbaum, in his discussion of Personal, Professional, and Political Morality offers an analysis that should help to further frame the issue in hopes of providing a worthy response:
You may not impose on the public your personal, nonpublic, promissory obligations (for impartial reasons); your personal, nonpublic morality (for liberal reasons [understood to mean "justice"], or your personal view of public morality (for skeptical reasons). --p.68.
The pharmacist failed the impartial obligation above as imposing his beliefs went beyond the duties of his role; he failed the liberal obligation by imposing his personal moral beliefs on the public and at the cost of the public (i.e. the patient); and ,I don't believe that it is relative or that he failed the skeptical obligation above as he did not directly impose his beliefs on the patient (rather, she experienced the consequences of the first and second point as described by Applbaum). Breaking down role-obligations to the tripartite structure provided above helps to elucidate the elements which are relevant in any role because they break down the obligations of the role and the person to it's immediate level (i.e., the person), an intermediate level (i.e., the role), and the supra-level (i.e., society).
2) The role responsibilities of pharmacists is to provide medicine to patients in a safe manner. More specificity may be found as described in the Code of Ethics for Pharmacists. A reading will show that the pharmacist in question failed to uphold numerous edicts outlined in that code.
3) Based upon the above, I would posit that the pharmacist was in deriliction of the duties prescribed by his role, and hence, it was wrong for him to deny the prescription. Additionally, there may have been other ways for him to protest or actualize his personal moral beliefs w/o acting contrary to his responsibilities. For example, by transferring the prescription to the other pharmacy --I can see that he would still have had to have "dealt" with the contraceptive and its moral consequence for him, but that would certainly be removed enough of a circumstance as to be radically abstract.
4) With regards to the health care repercussion of this point (i.e., the Kantian categorical imperative), I feel somewhat out of my element, but I'll give it a shot anyway: a) If each pharmacist did this, there would easily come to exist such an overwhelming number of types of pharmaceutical care that any semblance of a normative standard of care would be hugely difficult to establish; and b) patients may be harmed if they encountered a pharmacist who did not prominently advertise his beliefs and the resultant specifications of those beliefs on his role (i.e., not dispensing certain drugs) --to name a few that readily come to mind. The two points above are important for their relation to the philosophy of science and patient care.
The trouble is that the morals of the pharmacist don't exist as grounds for accepting them to be more established beliefs that could be the basis for proper law and public policy (e.g., utility, justice, liberty) because there is such variance in belief among reasonable persons holding religious beliefs.
--Referenced: Ethics for Adversaries by Applbaum.