Is it okay for me to work at a store that sells Plan B?

Maria called into The Patrick Madrid Show with an ethical predicament about her new job and her role in what she thinks is an immoral transaction. She asked Patrick for his advice and for suggestions on how to proceed.

Maria recently got a job at a grocery store in a small college town that operates like a one-stop shop: They sell groceries, clothes, furniture, décor, and anything else someone might need on a daily basis. However, soon after she started there, she noticed college students began purchasing with their groceries the Plan B pill. Without having known that her store sells this abortifacient drug, Maria continues to ring customers up for the pill with no other real recourse.

She said she would prefer to set the Plan B aside and have another employee ring it up for each customer, but she doesn’t want to disrupt the store’s efficiency, nor cause issues as a new employee. She has resorted to simply saying a prayer for each person who purchases the pill from her, but she still worries about her moral culpability.

Patrick began by applauding Maria for her genuine concern in this ethical dilemma, and he assured her that her concern was all the assurance she should need that her conscience is operating correctly.

“First of all, it’s really good that you’re having this moral struggle because that’s a sign that your conscience is functioning the way it should function. So, that’s good. You should be happy that you have awareness of this problem,” said Patrick.

He went on to explain that the situation she finds herself in is what moral theologians would call a situation of proximate cooperation. That means that she occupies a position that’s close to and involved with the immoral act; in this case, the use of an abortifacient. While Maria is not directly participating in the act, she is, in a literal sense, responsible for the facilitation of the act.

Patrick compared the sale of such a product to the sale of pornographic material, an item whose sole purpose is to perpetrate an immoral act. In that light, it’s much easier to see why a person of moral standards would not want to participate in such a transaction. And while Maria’s conduct is performed with reluctance and a heavy heart, it still contributes to the use of Plan B.

Patrick lauded Maria’s prudence in bringing this dilemma to him, but he warned her that her role does technically fall under the category of material cooperation which is wrong, and he advised her to find a different place to work if possible.

“The easiest way to handle this, and I’m not trying to be glib here, would be to find another job. And finding another job in it of itself is not necessarily easy, but if you want to be free from any scruples, free from any nagging worry, or having to have that heavy heart when you’re at the cash register and a person brings that stuff up, just think about each time you’d have to go through that: over and over and over again. If you want to be free from that, the easiest way would be to just find a different job where you can work for a company that doesn’t sell something that’s morally problematic.”

Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT

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John Hanretty serves as a Digital Media Producer for Relevant Radio®. He is a graduate of the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. Besides being passionate about writing, his hobbies include drawing and digital design. You can read more of his daily articles at relevantradio.com and on the Relevant Radio® app.