Right of Conscience Upheld in Illinois

Six years ago, then Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an emergency order which required all pharmicists in the state to dispense morning after pills. The governor deemed such an order necessary after a Chicago pharmicist refused to dispense the pill, just as other Illinois pharmacists had done previously.

Ever since that time, legal action has been underway to ensure that the conscience rights of pharmicists in Illinois are no longer violated by making them dispense a pill which violates a personal religious conviction. Thankfully, as LifeNews.com reports, a state court recently ruled that the law had been “improperly aimed only at pharmacists and pharmacies holding religious convictions.”

The court also dismissed the state’s argument that such a rule was necessary in order to ensure access to what the state’s lawyers referred to as “emergency contraception.” It did so by noting that the state was unable to point out even one instance of any person who had “ever been unable to obtain ‘emergency contraception’ because of a pharmacist’s religious objection.”

The pro-life pharmacy owners were represented, in part, by Francis Manion, Senior Counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. He summed up the magnitude of the victory by stating, “Today’s decision is a major victory for the rights of conscience. After six long years of litigaton, our clients have finally prevailed against a state government determined to coerce them and all pro-life pharmacists into violating their deeply held religious beliefs or give up their livelihoods. Judge Belz’s decision makes clear that both Illinois state law and the First Amendment will not permit this.”

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