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Pair Refused To Dispense Birth-Control Pills

April 9, 1987

LONGVIEW, Wash. (AP) _ Two pharmacists say they were fired from a store because they refused to dispense birth-control pills on moral grounds.

″We were terminated by Safeway for refusing to fill birth-control prescriptions,″ said former pharmacy manager Mark Rathjen, 33. ″I did my best in working within the company to have Safeway accommodate our convictions, but they were not able.″

According to Safeway and the Washington state Board of Pharmacy director, the action by Rathjen and Randy Johannes, 30, appears unprecedented.

″Safeway Corp. requires all pharmacists to fill all legal and ethical prescriptions,″ said Jack Boehme, pharmacy coordinator for Safeway Corp.’s Portland division office.

″When a person says they won’t do something, and it’s legal and ethical, and the doctor calls up and raises all kinds of heck, what do you do?″ Rathjen and Johannes contend life begins at fertilization, and said they believe oral contraceptives are killing unborn children.

″We have to be true to our conscience and true to the biblical principles we believe in,″ Rathjen said.

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