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What about the Choice to Say No?

     It is a matter of liberal orthodoxy that abortion is all about choice.
 
     Nothing could be further from the truth.

     Liberals support choice when it’s choice they agree with. The second that changes, they call for government mandates. No choice, just following orders.

     Doctors and nurses have been targeted in this battle for years. Big companies, too. This is standard for the left – attack businesses that dare support traditional values. After Wal-Mart knuckled under to pressure groups and agreed to stock the Plan B emergency contraceptive, Time magazine called them a liberal “ally.”
 
     Now pharmacists and drug store owners are in the thick of the fray. The left wants to make them fill birth control prescriptions against their will. Three states – Illinois, California and New Jersey – have already made that the law of the land.
 
     Liberals might get more than they bargained for. The federal government has circulated draft rules to protect “medical providers to offer legal abortion and contraception services to women,” according to Reuters.
 
     Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt’s blog cited Mary Jane Gallagher, president of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, saying, “it’s really not acceptable to the people I represent that this administration is considering allowing doctors and nurses and pharmacists that have received their education to provide services to now be able to not provide those services if they don’t want to.”
 
     Nancy Northup of the Center for Reproductive Rights told Reuters she opposed the plan. "It allows everybody, whether you are a receptionist or a maintenance person ... to object to doing their jobs because they object to abortion or sterilization," she added.
 
     They don’t allow for any choice.
 
     Conservatives have come up with the perfect free-market solution to the whole debate. – a “pro-life pharmacy.” The June 16 Washington Post profiled DMC Pharmacy in Chantilly, Va., that is family friendly. “But anyone who wants condoms, birth control pills or the Plan B emergency contraceptive will be turned away.”
 
     Naturally, the left hates it. According to the Post, “critics say the stores could create dangerous obstacles for women seeking legal, safe and widely used birth control methods.” Of course, if these are “legal, safe and widely used,” why does it matter if one store or two or 200 don’t sell the products? That would seem to be the very essence of choice.
 
     It’s far from a major trend. While the Web site for the Pharmacists for Life says it represents pharmacies on six continents, it only lists six in the United States. DMC would be seven. The Post quoted Karen Brauer, president of the organization, saying that’s “just the tip of the iceberg” and that the group was growing.
 
     The paper followed with a comment from Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center, saying “a pharmacy like this is walling off an essential part of health care. That could endanger women’s health.”
 
     There you have it. Women have the right to this “essential part of health care.” And if a woman or man doesn’t want to sell them the product then they “endanger women’s health.”
 
     In football, that attitude is called “my way or the highway.” Liberals aren’t even satisfied with that strategy. They want to force pro-lifers to sell products they find abhorrent.
 
     ABC’s Gigi Stone found one pharmacy in Grand Rapids, Mich., that is challenging the left. Mike Koelzer, owner of Kay Pharmacy, said he’s willing to suffer financially for his beliefs. He sent a “letter to his customers, telling them he would no longer be filling their prescriptions for contraception,” explained Stone. “I was and will be willing to lose the business, in order to not be a part of something that I don't agree with.”
 
     It’s a classic tale of a man standing up for what he thinks is right. But that’s not what ABC gave us. Stone deployed a typical media trick. She offered up both an upset customer who wanted to buy birth control, as well as a typical left-wing group to criticize the store’s practice.
 
     Planned Parenthood’s Katherine Humphrey seemed to be reading from the wrong playbook – talking about how “women's health and their lives are at risk.” When did Planned Parenthood become pro-life? When it became expedient to go after the underpinnings of its own organization – choice.

     Stone ended her story with a little swipe at the people who were taking a moral stand. “The Koelzers have chosen not to use birth control. They have nine children.”
 
     Stone got that much right. The Koelzers and many others are making the kind of choices that individuals and businesses should be able to make in a free society. The left hates that.

     Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and vice president of the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute. He can found on the Web on both Facebook and Twitter.