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World News

Christian pharmacist faces new court case after refusing to sell morning after pill

by Ruth Sax

A Christian German pharmacist faces further court proceedings for acting in line with his conscience.

Before his retirement, pharmacist Andreas Kersten owned and operated a pharmacy in Berlin. 

He did not stock or sell the morning after pill, in accordance with his conscience and his deeply held beliefs.

The drug can prevent the implantation of an embryo in the uterus and cause the death of an unborn child. After refusing to sell the product in his pharmacy, he was reported to the Berlin Pharmacists' Chamber which took the matter to the Professional Court at the Administrative Court of Berlin.

For the first time, a German court ruled on this issue and upheld his right to act in accordance with his conscience regarding the sale of certain products. The Pharmacists' Chamber has now appealed against the decision.

Religious freedom charity ADF International is supporting Mr Kersten in this case, 

Felix Böllmann, Legal Counsel for ADF International told Premier of Mr Kersten's reaction to the appeal: "When he learned that the Chamber of Pharmacists' had appealed he was quite disturbed. Yet he is convicted that his position is right and he would like to see that confirmed by a higher court.

"It boils down to one simple question of law. Does a pharmacist have the right to freedom of conscience in the exercise of his profession? We (ADF) fundamentally believe that he does have such a right and that nobody should be forced to choose between their conscience and their profession. In Germany no such case, to our knowledge, has been decided. 

"You have to remember that the right to act in accordance with your conscience is a fundamental right and why, of all people, should pharmacists not be protected and enjoy that right?"

A court of appeal date is yet to be set.

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