Pro-life activists are encouraging people to come forward with information on where one can buy the morning-after pill to develop an app with a list of “pro-life pharmacies”.

Gift of Life Malta, a pro-life NGO that campaigns against abortion and the protection of the unborn, announced on social media yesterday it was drawing up a list of pharmacies not stocking the contraceptive.

Gift of Life spokesman Paul Vincenti said the list, which would include the name of the pharmacy, its location and whether it would be stocking the morning-after pill said the app would help people looking for pro-life pharmacies. “Anyone with details about which pharmacies are interested in dispensing the morning-after pill can pass this on to us and we will verify it and then include it in our database,” the spokesman said.

Acknowledging that, by default, the app would also serve as a toolkit for those looking for pharmacies stocking the contraceptive, Mr Vincenti said those who wanted to use the app in such a way would “obviously be free to do so”. The main aim of the app, he continued, was to help people make an informed decision when taking the contraceptive.

The app should be available in the coming months, Mr Vincenti said, insisting that pharmacists had every right to not be willing to dispense the pill. “Pharmacists have a right to object but we are informed that some may be reluctant to do so as they fear they might lose their job. This should not be the case and that is why we want to develop the app, so we provide all the necessary information.”

In a reaction, Malta Chamber of Pharmacists president Mary Ann Sant Fournier deplored the development of this app, calling it “discriminatory”.

“Such action is in direct breach of the ethics of the pharmacy profession as issued by the Pharmacy Council,” she said.

“Pharmacies are premises that offer healthcare services and are managed by pharmacists who are independent healthcare professionals. In the context of the emergency contraception preparations, pharmacists will offer their services according to prescribed guidelines. It is however to be emphasised that, as free and independent professionals, pharmacists may opt to conscientiously object to dispense these products.”

This newspaper reported yesterday that the contraceptive would be on sale in the coming two or three weeks following months of debate.

The debate was initiated by the Women’s Rights Foundation, which, last June, had filed a judicial protest against the State calling for it to be licensed. Some had slammed the move as an attempt to legalise abortion in Malta, with pro-life activists arguing the contraceptive itself was abortifacient.

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