This one is a little – perhaps more than a little – personal. My conscience has been troubling me over the past few weeks. I have not had occasion to go to my favourite pharmacist since the Boots chain announced its intentions of providing, from January 12, over-the-counter “emergency contraception” in its Irish stores. My favourite pharmacist is, sadly, a Boots pharmacist. While this is personal it is also a matter which touches directly on the common good of our society and the life and death of human beings. As such I feel I should make my personal response a little public.
It seems to me that, yet again, we have here an instance of corporations taking another step to obliterate all sense of the identity and value of human life in their ruthless pursuit of profits – and then boast of it as “service to the public”.
I have written as follows to my pharmacist – but do not disclose here either the identity or my pharmacist or the Boots branch where, until January 11, I have been a customer.
“I have been a customer with Boots for a good number of years now. From time to time I have had misgivings of conscience about this choice of pharmacy in view of some of the products which you provide to the public. Until now I have given the company the benefit of my doubts. However, on reflection, in relation to the latest service which you have announced which you are providing – effectively an abortifacient medication as a so-called ‘emergency contraception’ – I can no longer give Boots the benefit of the doubt. This is contrary to the moral norms which I consider absolute in relation to our responsibility for human life. I don’t think I need to spell this out.
“As a consequence I would request that you set aside for collection, or send to me by post, any current prescriptions which you are holding there so that I can transfer them to one of my local pharmacies.
“I very much regret having to do this and wish to express my appreciation for your personal courtesy and advice over the past few years. Even though I moved house in September my appreciation for this help was the reason why I had hoped to retain my account with Boots despite some inconvenience. Unfortunately, powers – which I would like to think, are beyond your control – now make it impossible for me to do so any more.