Snyder Drug Store

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Our modest little Snyder Drug Store – home to the retro-cool 50s-style soda fountain – is getting an awful lot of publicity this week, thanks to the decision by the owners of the drugstore to not carry birth-control pills (aka oral contraceptives).

Snyder Drug Store in Great Falls, Montana

The decision is causing quite a stir in the blogosphere, even reaching the Hit-n-Run section of Reason magazine.
I (sort of) understand why the “pro-choice” people are upset about this, and I (sort of) also understand the position of the owners. But what it comes down to, in this case, is that this is a decision by the owners of the drugstore. It is THEIR business, and they should be able to sell – or not – whatever products they want to. Do I agree with the “pro-choicers” or the “pro-lifers” on the ethics of selling birth-control pills? Doesn’t matter…my opinion about the morality of BC pills or the people that use them is not what this issue is about, for me: the real right at stake here is that of a business owner to own and run his business.

UPDATE, Sunday morning: the Tribune has an article on the subject. And GeeGuy offers some perspective on the issue, including insight on the owners of Snyder Drug – friends of his – and the legal issues of this (increasingly) manufactured controversy.



  1. I feel SO oppressed! My lord, people.
    Patia-nobody is taking away a womans rights here. You still have the right to run out and buy as much birth control as you want. You just can’t buy it at Snyder Drug. Now really, how much is that going to affect your life?

    As a woman, with the right to “own and run her body”, I say B.S. In Great Falls MT, right now, any woman that wants birth control can get it. And every business owner should have the right to run his business according to his own personal, moral, ethical and religious beliefs. This shouldn’t even be an issue.

  2. They still prescribe Viagra, to keep the dicks hard, but pull the birth control so these same hard-ons can knock up us women and keep us barefoot in the kitchen, making it more difficult for women to exceed in the workplace and in education.

    So, in other words, men are oppressing women because women willingly open up their legs to have sex with them?

    Did I get that right?

    Now that’s a sexist statement if I ever saw one.

    Also, as one of those knocked up woman, I take offense to your put down to those who decide to put their careers on hold so that they can stay home and raise their kids. BTW, I chose to do that. My husband didn’t make me.

  3. What a joke this is.

    This is about free enterprise and nothing else. They don’t take my insurance card, oh the horror. They won’t sell me my pills, the world is ending.

    Snyder’s as a private business are under no obligation to stay in business for your needs. They offer a service by CHOICE, theirs and only theirs. You can’t force them to sell a product. Suppose they were the only pharmacy in town? So what. Would you make them stay in business if they wanted to retire or turn the business into a used car lot?

    Get over it and take some responsibility for your own needs. If you need pills them you can find them.

    Your rights end at the tip of your pointy little nose.

  4. Patia- Do you really see anything wrong with a little shame for a sexually active 14 year old? If not at what age do you recommend your daughters begin engaging in sex? 10, 12 or is 14 years old just right? Are you really going to tell me this is a personal decision between your child and her physician? What education prepared a physician for this decision? Do you leave your daughters alone with the doctor for all medical decisions or just for the ones that involve sex. That’s the problem with building your arguments on hypotheticals, it makes you look like a nut. Stick with reality and at least we can agree to disagree. But by pinning your arguments on a highly sexually active 14 year old with bad parents as the model for creating social policy you seem like a freak to us regular parents. And, if you don’t see anything in what I am saying please keep you and your children far away from my daughters. I wish more for them than pregnancy free sex at 14. Yes, I am judging, if I’ve done my job right my children will live the rest of their lives questioning if dad would approve of what they are doing. If you are wrong about a 14 year olds maybe you are wrong about pharmacists.

  5. GiftshoppeGuy but mostly Wolfpack –

    Get a clue! For crying out loud. Yes, ideally, in the perfect world that we parents have IMAGINED for our children: they would never have sex. The REALITY is that about half of the teenaged population is having sex.

    Would you truly know if your daughters were engaging in intercourse? Judging by your attitude displayed here, of course not! Any child who doesn’t have an honest and open relationship with their parents isn’t going to inform them of whether or not their virginity is in tact.

    Remembering back on my teenaged years, and thinking of all of those I went to school with I know that teenagers, for the most part, are going to do whatever they want to do and if they are careful they won’t be caught.

    You’ve attacked Patia and accused her of being an irresponsible parent? If you’d like to point fingers then I would rather say that YOU sir are the lousy parent, as it is clear to me that you haven’t bothered to understand the average teenage psyche and reach out to your own children to see if they NEED to be on birth control. If your daughters are going to have sex, whether you like it or not, the only other thing you can do is ensure that they are being smart about it. By using condoms and hormonal birth control.

    No, I am by no means endorsing teenaged sex. But, I am able to realize that many, if not most, teenagers ARE going to engage in sexual contact with others. Whether we as parents wish for it or not. It sounds to me like you are in some serious denial.

    I don’t even care so much about the Snyder Drug ordeal. I’ve already said my piece above, that I just won’t bring my business there any longer. Not a big deal. I’m not even on birth control right now.

    Abstinence education DOESN’T WORK. It just doesn’t. We would all love our kids to wait to have sex till they’re older, and have been in a long term committed relationship (and some people would like them married first). It doesn’t work like that these days. Teaching safe sex will always beat leaving your child in the dark and ignorant when they’ve decided to do it. I can’t believe that such deluded people still exist.

  6. Uh… Exqueeze me??…

    I don’t recall “ever” saying that teens “don’t” have sex.

    “…14 year old girls ought to be behaving themselves in the first place…”

    We, as parents are going to do the best job we can when it comes to our kids.

    Kids, often times don’t view the world as, lets say, we adults might.
    Giving 8th graders condoms and birth control pills is a signal that “It’s Okay” to do this, when all we adults ever meant was “they are going to end up doing it anyway”.

    So in the end, we (as adults) are encouraging this kind of behavior.
    Kids are confused enough at those young ages about such things as sex. Sure, the plumber made sure all of the pipes were in good working order, but now the kid has to figure out what to do with it all… and here we come, neverminding that these youngsters still have quite a ways to go on the emotional level, and tell them that it’s okay to just jump on in there….. We don’t mean it that way, but that’s the way they take it.
    Trust me on this one….. If a kid thinks it’s okay, then by golly, that’s exactly what they’re going to do….

    I absolutely agree that teens won’t talk to their parents about sex…. that’s a given, simply because they “aren’t” mentally equipped or emotionally developed enough to deal with it. You’ve got to give them room enough to grow a bit before you go off stuffing your own certain adult ideology down their throats.

  7. It is important to realize that we all have choices. I am one of the customers that received noticed that I would no longer be able to get my prescription filled after May. It is my choice to have all my prescription filled by the same pharmacy. I respect the knowledge of pharmacist and want to be informed of any possible drug interaction if I am prescribed a new drug. I have changed my pharmacy as a result. I have gone with the mail-in option through my insurance. It saves me money and it is still a Montana business.

    I stayed with Synder’s in the past to support a local business. I have been a lifetime Snyder’s and Northside Drug store customer. Even after the recent sell of the business, I wanted to contine to support a local business. I will still shop at Synder’s but they will lose my prescription purchases and my purchases that would have been made while waiting for my prescriptions to be filled. They are still an awesome local business.

  8. Hmmm, any RX can be bad for you if you have an overabundance of them and/or allergies. Someone close to me had to be on the pill in order to reduce a growth in her fallopian tubes. Religion? Well not too much into their beliefs if they will be selling the pills until they’re all out. Money, Money, Money. Perhaps the owners need to take in all of the children in Great Falls and around the world and become foster parents/adopt. Don’t forget the children in the 3rd world countries who are starving to death or dying of aids. But then again, it’s a free country. I don’t believe in abortion because IT IS LEGALIZED MURDER! Not allowing birth control actually says that you agree with abortion in it’s own way. Maybe they should continue selling and the DONATE the money to causes that support the mother’s of unplanned pregnancies, rather than those who feel that they have no alternative but to go to Planned Parenthood.

  9. Rachel- Wow. If not being complacent with children having sex at 14 makes me an unfit parent then you are right I am unfit. I’m not saying that no child is having sex by 14, I just don’t think it’s any where near the norm. The point being made by others and myself is that a girl who is sexually active at 14 has more problems than where to buy BC pills and is a poor example for this discussion. If you don’t think there is an age too young for BC pills good for you, I don’t agree. Are you agreeing with Patia’s argument that BC pills are a matter to be decided by a 14 year old woman and her doctor, she does not leave any room for the girls parents. I think the idea of a 14 year old woman is crazy and borders on child abuse which translates into a 14 year old girl is not a woman and needs her mom and dad not friends with signature authority.

  10. We all need to ask ourselves if this conversation would have lasted as long had they stopped carrying any other form of contraception. If the morality of contraception is the topic at hand, why don’t we ream any business that chooses not to sell EVERY available form? Lastly, what if the owners of Snyder’s just decided to close their doors altogether, would we be complaining about the inconvenience of obtaining BC pills or the loss of a long standing local business?

  11. From a 2005 Washington Post article:

    The American Pharmacists Association recently reaffirmed its policy that pharmacists can refuse to fill prescriptions as long as they make sure customers can get their medications some other way.

    That seems reasonable to me. If the pharmacist is not willing to do at least this, I think they should either give up their license or clearly advertise “not a full-service pharmacy.”

  12. I can’t believe all the $hit people are throwing into this! It doesn’t matter what all the hypotheticals are, what small town it is in or how some 14yr old will be in dire need…this is a private business in Great Falls, MT that has every right to make a decision or statement on what they will sell or not sell in their pharmacy. It is everyone else’s right to go to another store if they don’t like that!

  13. big mike & Sauerkraut: if Stuart and Kyla Anderson and Kurt and Kori Depner, the new owners of Snyder Drug, decided to stop selling prescription birth control pills for religious based ethical/moral reasons — which, although I’m not Roman Catholic, I agree with — then why didn’t they immediately stop selling the prescription birth control pills, rather than continue to sell from existing inventory? This failure to immediately stop upon taking ownership of Snyder Drug weakens their position.

  14. I work at a Snyder’s in Minnesota and I see your point in banning oral contraception. However, you are alienating your customers and isn’t the point of having a business to make money? However, I applaud your company is standing up for what you believe in.

  15. I think it’s inspiring that some Catholics are actually practicing their faith! The freedom to practice one’s faith is protected by the constitution, so I don’t know why everybody is freaking out. That sound very anti-choice to me.

  16. I Don’t think that it is up to any man what is right for a women to do with their bodies, where are half the men when i woman comes to them with the news of a new baby in the bodies and they take of running, so i feel that any birth control is up to the woman,, and i feel that any religion should keep their feelings out of it competely, exp. the catholic’s being their have alot of things in their closets at this time. WOMEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTOL AND DO WHATEVER IS NECESSERY TO KEEP THEIR BODIES (THEIR BODIES) AND NOT THE RIGHT TO DO WHATEVER IS RIGHT OF ANY (MAN)

  17. Hmmm Wolfpack, I think you are in excess of wrong. You say that children having sex by 14 is not the norm? In fact (don’t worry I have stats to back my mouth up.) more then half of teenagers have had sex by the time they are 15..That’s By the time not during, not after but by the TIME they reach 15. 1/4th of our teens are having sex by the age of 12, coincidently that’s about the same time they start taking drugs these days. By their 20th birthday over 3/4ths
    of American teens have had sex and most of the time with different partners. And because of the abstinance campaign A lot of teens have decided that having other types of encounters is ok..Oral and others.
    I’m not the mother of any girls, I don’t have to worry about my daughter getting pregnant,But I worry that my son may end up with a child. I also do not believe in taking Man made meds so that cuts out pharmacies for me. HOWEVER! My son turned 11 this year, I refuse to leave my child in the dark especially when I know he has attempted to look at porn on my computer, since he talks about girls alot of the time, and is even talking about dating! (which isn’t happening until he 16) The fact remains, Children ARE having sex, it IS the norm in their world. As parents we have to sit down and have a talk and/or promote safety along with a stern warning that IT is NOT ok, for them to be doing so. It is up to us to teach our children responsibility..Before responsibility teaches them the hard way. Open up the lines of communication and your child will at least be safe if they choose to break the guidlines you as an adult have set.

    As for Snyders, I wouldn’t shop where My kind are unwanted..I’m not talking about being a female..I don’t shop anywhere where someone elses faith needs to be crammed down my throat. If I wanted to learn about a different religion, I’d head to the nearest cathedral or church.

    Heres your links Wolfpack and anyone else who disbelieves that children are having sex…BTW go ahead and spout off that only kids of bad parents have sex…Statistically it’s just not true.

    From the mouths of children

    If you need more, Let me know..or GOOGLe it .

  18. I just ran across this. I do not believe any pharmacist has the right to deny dispensing any drug that is legally prescribed by a doctor or an NP. It is not the job of a pharmacist to dispense their moral view along with the pills, and I am outraged at this. And it is their moral obligation to properly dispense medications that are legally prescribed.

    And by the way, birth control pills are used for more than contraception. My stepmother, a devout Catholic, had some wierd female problem that caused her great pain. Her doctor prescribed the pills to help it. She certainly would never take them for contraception. So these people are denying needed medical care in the midst of jamming their beliefs down people’s throats.

    No wonder Walgreens opened two stores here. Buh bye Snyders.

  19. Oh by the way, a pharmacist needs to interfere if he or she suspects a drug interaction, or something fishy to do with controlled substances. But not birth control pills.

  20. I just checked with Public Drug, the other old pharmacy in town that might even predate Snyders and they dispense birth control pills.

    I am almost thinking this is some kind of sick publicity stunt.

  21. I don’t think ANY business should be required to sell – or not sell – any particular product, for any reason. If Snyder’s is willing to lose a few customers over this – or perhaps even gain some? – then there should be no problem, and no moral outrage.

  22. I went to have a prescription filled and found, in addition to the usual pharmacy offerings, a lovely store filled with gifts, greeting cards, an old-fashioned soda fountain and even a section for religious items. Snyder Drug is a delight! I now buy many of my gifts and almost all my greeting cards there — the selections are wonderful. And the staff of the store — from the pharmacists to the soda fountain personnel to the checkout women — are friendly, helpful people who remember you the next time you come. Give yourself a treat and make a visit to Snyder Drug — and have your gift list with you!

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