anti-abortion issues, concerns
Woman advocates students follow beliefs
by Heather Murphy
Indiana Daily Student
March 28, 2001
About 15 people gathered in Ballantine Hall
Monday to hear Karen Brauer speak on behalf of
the anti-abortion movement. Brauer is president of
Pharmacists for Life, an organization that believes
life begins at conception and ends at natural death.
Brauer was fired from Kmart four years ago for
refusing to dispense progestin-only birth control.
Progestin-only birth control prevents the
implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, Brauer
said. This class of drugs (as well as others, such as
Previn -- known as the "morning after pill") is
referred to by abortion opponents as an
"In the event that breakthrough ovulation does
occur, abortifacient birth control prevents a fertilized
egg from implanting in the uterus and it discards the
egg from the body," said senior Sarah McHone,
president of IU Students for Life. Students for Life
sponsored Brauer's speech.
The nine men and six women present participated in
a question and answer session with Brauer. Among
their main concerns was the issue of informed
Brauer said women are not given a fair explanation
of how their birth control works, pointing out that
the doctor and patient inserts in birth control kits
contain two different sets of information.
"It's been a crime to think women shouldn't have to
worry their pretty little heads about how their
medicine works," she said.
Brauer cited information from the doctor's insert,
that hormonal birth control prevents ovulation only
50 percent of the time -- the other 45-50 percent, it
prevents implantation. Brauer said that many
doctors do not share this information with women,
and that this is a violation of their right to informed
"When a woman takes birth control," Brauer said,
"she is profoundly affecting her entire body, treating
something that really isn't wrong."
Because of these beliefs, Brauer said she was fired
from her job as a pharmacist at Kmart in Hamilton,
Ohio. Brauer maintains that in Ohio, a pharmacist
has the right to refuse to dispense any drug for any
reason because they are liable for their decisions.
She said the pharmacy was refusing to sell diet pills
at the time because of an abuse problem in the area,
and no one had a problem with it.
Although Brauer said she was dismayed by the
circumstances surrounding her dismissal, she said
she believes she's in pharmacy for a reason -- to
encourage people to stand up for what they believe.
Besides her anti-abortion message, she emphasized
another point Monday -- if an employer ever asks
you to do something that goes against your beliefs,
you don't have to do it.
While the discussion sometimes took a philosophical
turn, the issues were confined mainly to the political
and the scientific.
Although many members, such as practicing
Catholic Jim Poeppelman, a junior, said they have
religious grounds for their beliefs, that is not their
"The issue is not primarily religious," he said. "The
Constitution gives the right to life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness."
"When we have uncertainty about when life begins,"
McHone said, "it is important that we give the
benefit of the doubt to the fetus."