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A Hateful Guest

Reported by Ellen - April 8, 2005 -

Two guests have hung up on Alan Colmes during his radio show in the last few weeks and I kept hoping one of last night's guests, Karen Brauer, of Pharmacists for Life, would do the same. Brauer was fired from K Mart for refusing to fill a prescription for birth control pills. Derisive, sneering and all around nasty at every turn, she tried to monopolize the entire conversation, then complained when Colmes interrupted her. She made it hard to believe she was a woman of conscience and not someone deliberately trying to throw her weight around from the bully pulpit of a pharmacy counter.

She started off the interview by laughing scornfully while her opponent from The National Organization of Women was speaking.

From there, she kept up a non-stop stream of sarcasm, including the following:

When Colmes asked her if condoms were as bad as birth control pills, she answered, "I'm sorry, you're going to have to look at the literature on that... You think a gamete is a human organism? You have to study biology."

Colmes commented that if the only pharmacy in a rural town refuses to fill a prescription, it could be an insurmountable hardship for someone forced to drive a long distance necessary to get to another pharmacy.

Brauer gave this "life-affirming" answer: "What are you going to do about all the other inequities?" She went on to say that people in the country "just don't have this city attitude that you seem to have... Rural people don't feel that way... You think that it's an inconvenience to drive 30 miles to get what you want? We don't feel that way!"

Comment: You are WRONG about that, sister. I live in a very rural area and I don't know anyone who wouldn't be annoyed at having to drive an extra 30 miles, especially in the winter when the roads can be very bad, just because of some butt-inski pharmacist.

Colmes also asked how she knew she wasn't causing more harm than good by denying medication because, as the woman from NOW said, birth control pills are used for other purposes besides just birth control.

Brauer started to say that birth control pills are not healthy.

Colmes interrupted to say, "But you're not the doctor."

Brauer: I am the drug expert, OK? Get over it. I have more drug education than any doctor... You're just going to have to get over it."

Comment: Interestingly, when I Googled Brauer in order to find out how to spell her name, I discovered an article about her on mediamatters.org. Usually Colmes researches his guests but he seems to have missed some important information about Brauer. According to Media Matters:

- Her organization is rather obscure. Pharmacists for Life's most recent IRS filings indicate that the organization has no paid employees and raised and spent less than $30,000 in 2003 (the most recent year for which figures are available), with more than half going for "VIT, GLOVES, SUPPLIES."

- Brauer was fired by a Kmart pharmacy in Ohio for refusing to fill birth control prescriptions. As Brauer acknowledged during an April 16, 2001, appearance on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Brauer didn't merely refuse to fill a patient's prescription, she lied to the patient, as well.

- While most of Pharmacists for Life and Brauer's public comments relate to pharmacists refusing to dispense birth control medication, their efforts -- and their effects -- are not limited to issues of reproductive rights; Brauer said during her O'Reilly Factor appearance that she refused to fill prescriptions for diet pills "due to the abuse potential in the area in which I was working."

- PFL's "Frequently asked questions" section of its website states "Pharmacists are under no obligation, even if written in the positive law, to violate the Divine Law." This suggestion that pharmacists are not bound by the laws of the United States so long as they think God disagrees with those laws is but the tip of the iceberg.