“Despite this missed opportunity to correct an unconstitutional abuse of power, the Washington State rule that punishes pharmacists and pharmacy owners who respect unborn life can and should be immediately repealed,” said AUL’s Clarke Forsythe. “Justice Alito is correct, when he wrote that the Court’s refusal to review this discriminatory rule is an ominous sign for religious liberty.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. (06-28-16) — The U.S. Supreme Court today declined an opportunity to hear Stormans v. Wiesman, a challenge to a 2007 Washington Board of Pharmacy rule that punishes pharmacists and pharmacy owners with religious objections to stocking drugs with known life-ending effects. “Despite this missed opportunity to correct an unconstitutional abuse of power, the Washington State rule that punishes pharmacists and pharmacy owners who respect unborn life can and should be immediately repealed,” said Clarke Forsythe, AUL Acting President and Senior Counsel.
“The rule at issue in the Stormans case is unfortunately one of many examples where abortion advocates are pushing an extreme agenda of coercion under the faulty guise of ‘choice.’ As AUL has written about extensively, Planned Parenthood’s fingerprints are all over the unnecessary and unconstitutional rule,” continued Forsythe.
He noted that Justice Samuel Alito began his dissent to the Supreme Court’s refusal to review the discriminatory rule, writing, “This case is an ominous sign.” Alito also noted:
“[T]here is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out of step with prevailing opinion in the State.”
“[T]his Court does not deem this case worthy of our time. If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.”
The case “has raised more than ‘slight suspicion’ that the rules challenged here reflect antipathy toward religious beliefs that do not accord with the views of those holding the levers of government power.”
“The conscience rights of all Americans are at risk when they can be ignored by those who do not share the same opinion,” observed Forsythe.
AUL has a long history of involvement in this case. On an earlier appeal of this case to the Ninth Circuit, AUL filed an amicus brief on behalf of Washington legislators in support of pro-life pharmacists. On a later second appeal, AUL filed a similar amicus brief on behalf of Members of Congress.
In January, 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 brief demonstrates that conscience objections to drugs misleadingly called “emergency contraceptives,” specifically Plan B and ella, are consistent with objective science showing that the drugs have the capacity to end the life of an unique human being. The brief was filed on behalf of 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.
To read more about the anti-conscience campaign orchestrated by Planned Parenthood visit AUL’s Planned Parenthood Exhibits.