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Conscience, News, Statements

AUL Joins Bioethics Defense Fund in Legal Brief Defending First Amendment Conscience Rights of Pharmacists

WASHINGTON, D.C. (02-05-16) – Americans United for Life joined a medical amicus curie (friend of the court brief) as co-counsel in an effort headed by the Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF) and lead attorney Dorinda Bordlee to defend the First Amendment freedom of conscience of pharmacists. The case, Stormans Inc. v. Wiesman, involves a 2007 Washington Board of Pharmacy rule regarding “emergency contraceptives,” which can end unborn life. Noting that pharmacists with faith-based conscience objections must stock and dispense so-called “emergency contraceptive” drugs that have the capacity to end early human life, a federal district court invalidated it in 2012 and found that it violated religious freedom. However, in July 2015, the Ninth Circuit overruled the district court and upheld the constitutionality of the rule. The brief filed by BDF and AUL urges the Court to accept the appeal of the erroneous Ninth Circuit ruling. 

“At stake in this case are the rights of medical professionals to refuse to engage in the sale and distribution of life-ending drugs,” noted AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “As the abortion industry has moved from ‘choice’ to coercion, we have repeatedly witnessed violations of Americans’ basic rights, as they and their businesses are attacked by abortion advocates.”

Bordlee noted, “This amicus brief by five medical associations is important because it educates the Supreme Court that the Washington pharmacists’ conscience objections to ‘emergency contraceptives,’ specifically Plan B and ella, are consistent with objective science showing that the drugs have the capacity to end the life of a human being at the embryo stage of development.”

Asserting that it is immoral to force medical professionals to engage in commerce that offends their consciences, the following organizations are represented by the brief: the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association, and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.

The brief also specifically notes that, according to established medical science, a new, distinct, human being comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, and that “emergency contraceptives” such as Plan B and ella  have the capacity to end the life of a new human being at the embryonic stage of development.   

Click here to read the brief.

Click here to learn more about the health risks of abortion for women.