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CVS addresses birth control issue

CVS addresses birth control issue
In response to a campaign by Planned Parenthood and tremendous public outcry over prescription policies and "Conscience Clauses" allowing medical professionals to refuse treatment and medication for patients based on religious or moral grounds, CVS/pharmacy has clarified its position on filling contraception prescriptions. In a May 20, 2005, letter to Karen Pearl, interim president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, CVS Senior Vice President Jon Roberts makes the pharmacy's position clear: "CVS dispenses all lawful medications. In particular, CVS pharmacies fill prescriptions for all lawful, valid birth control medications, including emergency contraceptives. As you know, some pharmacies, including at least one major national retailer with pharmacy operations, does not carry emergency contraceptives. That is not our policy. CVS pharmacists are required to ensure that all prescriptions, including birth control medications, are dispensed. "However, CVS is also obliged to comply with state and federal laws concerning religious accommodations. Under the Civil Rights ACT of 1964, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to employees with sincerely held religious convictions. If CVS pharmacists have religious views that conflict with their duty to fill prescriptions, they are required to notify management before being asked to dispense a medication to which they object. Once notified, CVS works with a pharmacist to determine if an accommodation can be granted, while ensuring above all else that our customer's needs are satisfied completely and without delay. Our policy prohibits pharmacists from discussing their personal views with customers seeking to purchase birth control medications. "It is certainly not CVS policy to deny services to a patient if a pharmacist objects to filling a prescription. Indeed, our policies are designed to ensure that all of our customers' birth control prescriptions are filled promptly. Like Planned Parenthood, CVS strongly believes that women should have prompt and easy access to prescription contraceptive medications."
Real-world struggle
Saving Star Wars, the locally produced cult film that has been drawing raves in two countries, is joining in the fight to help 6-year-old Katie Johnson, who has an inoperable brain tumor. Katie's father, Albin Johnson, was the founder of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, an international organization of community-minded Star Wars costume enthusiasts. Members of the local 501st were involved in the filming of Saving Star Wars. The group has raised millions of dollars worldwide for children's charities. Saving Star Wars centers around a father's love for his dying child, so Albin and Katie's story immediately caught the attention of director Gary Wood. Five dollars from every online sale of Saving Star Wars will go to Katie Albin at the purchaser's request, and WoodWorks films will be selling pink "For Katie" bracelets wherever Saving Star Wars screens. David Prowse (Darth Vader in the original Star Wars movies), who starred in Saving Star Wars, has also contributed a set of signed photos to sell on Katie's behalf. For more information about Katie, visit www.forkatie.org. For more information about WoodWorks Films fundraising efforts, visit www.savingstarwars.com.
Latino advisory posse
What do city financial institutions like Bank One, National City, Union Planters and centers for higher learning like Butler University and Marion College have in common? They are all part of La Plaza, a not-for-profit Latino organization dedicated to the education and enrichment of Central Indiana's Hispanic community. On May 24, the newly appointed advisory council, which includes civic leaders like Kathy Taurel of the Indianapolis Opera and Indianapolis Public Schools Superintendent Pat Prichett, among others, met to introduce and discuss new and exciting programs in the upcoming months involving the city and its Latino community. The move is in conjunction with the Mayor's Latino Outreach program, headed by Ricardo Gambetta, which has already kicked off the summer with Garfield Park's Cinco de Mayo festival earlier this month. "La Plaza is honored to welcome these people as our Advisory Committee," said Charlie Garcia, chairman of La Plaza Board of Directors. "Their commitment, support and expertise will allow us to better serve people by providing education, health and social services, business and economic development support while also sharing the richness of the arts and culture of Latinos with the Indianapolis community." La Plaza-Indy.org, the group's official Web site, should be up soon. As of now, you can contact Executive Director Miriam Acevado Davis at 317-634-5022. - Alberto Diaz
Making poverty history
The local arts community will do its part to help with the national ONE anti-poverty campaign with several events on June 1, including Rock Lobster, 820 Broad Ripple Ave., featuring Tad Armstrong, at 9:30p.m.; Vic's Coffee Café, 627 N. East St., featuring John Tuttle, 8:30 p.m.; The House Café, 6101 N. Keystone Ave., featuring Big Dave, DaFilled, Cymplycity, Alexis, Ray E, Lea Roe, Faceless Band, Brother P featuring Katrina Gilbert and more, 7 p.m. ONE fund-raiser wristbands can be purchased June 1 at Indy CD & Vinyl in Broad Ripple and Vic's Coffee Café. Sales will continue at the Christian Theological Seminary Bookstore, 1000 W. 42nd St.; and Interchurch Center, 1100 W. 42nd St., Suite 140. Go to www.ONE.org to find out more.

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