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AUL applauds Illinois court striking rule forcing pharmacists to violate their consciences

“There is a widespread attack on conscience in America,” said AUL’s Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “But today an Illinois court ruled that the state cannot target pharmacists simply because of their religious beliefs.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. (04-05-11) — Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest applauded a decision today from an Illinois circuit court that struck down a state administrative rule forcing pharmacists and pharmacies to dispense “emergency contraception” against their conscientious beliefs. Long involved in the case, AUL first represented the plaintiffs in 2005 when Morr-Fitz, Inc. vs. Blagojevich was filed.

The complaint alleged that then Gov. Rod Blagojevich violated the conscience rights of pharmacists and pharmacies by requiring them to dispense “emergency contraception” against their religious convictions. As the case has proceeded, AUL’s involvement included two amicus curiae briefs on behalf of national medical organizations in support of the plaintiffs and the conscience rights of all health care providers in the state of Illinois. Click here and here to read those briefs.

In today’s ruling, the court found that the rule was improperly aimed only at pharmacists and pharmacies holding religious convictions. While proponents of the draconian rule claim it is necessary in order to ensure availability of “emergency contraception,” the court noted that not a single person has ever been unable to obtain “emergency contraception” because of a pharmacist’s religious objection.

Dr. Yoest commended the state court: “For six years, pharmacists and pharmacies have been bullied by the state of Illinois into choosing between violating their religious beliefs or violating the law. We applaud the Illinois circuit court for permanently striking this unconstitutional rule.”

For more information on healthcare freedom of conscience, go here.