It’s time to batten down the hatches. There’s a shitstorm approaching, and it’s all courtesy of one chemist in country New South Wales.
Let’s set the scene. Thurgoona Soul Pattinson Chemist is one of several pharmacies in the NSW town of Albury, but it’s the only pharmacy in the suburb of Thurgoona. The owner, Simon Horsfall, is a devout Catholic who agrees with the church’s views on birth control.
As a result, Horsfall has refused to stock condoms for 12 years now. The morning after pill, of course, is also out of the question. He does stock oral contraceptives, but what’s really pissed people off is this note that he’s written up, which is slipped into every pill packet sold.
Read it below:
If you can’t read the image, here’s the significant bit:
The owners of the Thurgoona Soul Pattinson Chemist, Simon and Kathleen Horsfall, accept the official teaching of the Catholic Church against the use of artificial contraception. For this reason they conscientiously object to the sale and support of artificial contraception.
If your primary reason for taking this medicine is contraceptive then it could be appreciated that, in the future, you could respect our views and have your OCP prescriptions filled elsewhere.
One of Horsfall’s customers posted the note on Facebook, and from there, it quickly exploded. As you’d expect it to – you can’t really hand out a religious note with every contraceptive to every woman in town and NOT anticipate some kind of backlash.
Facebook blew up with unhappy comments, not only towards Horsfall, but towards Soul Pattinson as a group. As a result, Soul Pattinson released a statement on their Facebook page, revealing that they’d disassociated themselves from Horsfall as a chemist:
Despite this, Horsfall remains undeterred, telling news.com.au that “If I was selling the pill and taking the money that would be hypocrisy… People despise hypocrites with good reason. This is something that I can make a stand on in a gentle way.”
“I don’t believe that artificial contraception is a good thing for society in general. The church has always tried to put that [message] out, saying that it’s bad for people.”
But of course, this isn’t making a stand in a gentle way. This is interfering with women’s lives in the worst possible way: dictating what contraception they can and cannot buy for specific purposes.
It’s one thing to ask people to respect your religious views. But it’s another thing to push those religious views onto people who may be in a vulnerable position. Especially when you have a position of power and influence over them.