Barriers to accessing EC in Italy

In a new study published in The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Italian researchers explore the empirical and theoretical reasons behind why doctors and pharmacists may refuse to provide women with EC. Although evidence suggests that refusal typically is based on grounds of conscious, the researchers argue that the category of conscientious objection is not the most appropriate one for making sense of these claims because they are not grounded in a conflict between two contrasting moral duties. Since EC is available only by prescription from pharmacies in Italy, the researchers propose that the seemingly forced choice between protecting doctors’ and pharmacists’ professional self-determination and women’s reproductive self-determination could be prevented by distributing EC without a prescription and in a number of outlets in addition to pharmacies, thus relieving doctors and pharmacists from the legal duty to provide it.