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Appellate Court Agrees Pharmacists Can’t Be Forced To Provide Morning-After Pills

Plan B Pill

The Plan B ‘morning-after’ contraception pill. (Credit: CBS)

Nancy Harty Nancy Harty
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — An Illinois appellate panel court has sided with two pharmacists, saying the State of Illinois may not force them to dispense morning-after pills.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports, the decision affirms a lower court’s ban on a 2005 executive order from then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which required all pharmacists to dispense contraceptives – including the morning-after pill.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty reports

Pharmacist Glenn Kosirog of Wheaton, and colleague, drugstore owner Luke VanderBleek, both sued on the grounds that the executive order violated their religious beliefs.

When Blagojevich introduced the rule, he said pharmacists had an obligation to fill all prescriptions despite any personal qualms. Someone in need of emergency contraception should always be able to get it, “No delays. No hassles. No lectures,” he said then.

Circuit and appellate courts originally dismissed the claim. They ruled the pharmacists had no standing to file a lawsuit because the druggists had not lost their jobs or suffered other repercussions because of it.

But in 2008, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled the pharmacists’ claim must be considered. Last year, a judge ruled that pharmacists cannot be forced to offer the pill.

The Plan B contraception pill is a concentrated dose of the same drug found in birth control pills and is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Doctors say the drugs should not be confused with the abortion pill, RU-486.

But VanderBleek and Kosirog both argued that the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion.

The Chicago Tribune reports an attorney representing the men said the ruling strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of people who have access to medical care, and the rights of people who object to being coerced into violating their conscience.