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Finally Some Good News for Reproductive Freedom


Pharmacists can’t refuse Plan B pill, appeals court says

Pharmacists are obliged to dispense the Plan B pill, even if they are personally opposed to the “morning after” contraceptive on religious grounds, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a case that could affect policy across the western U.S., a supermarket pharmacy owner in Olympia, Wash., failed in a bid to block 2007 regulations that required all Washington pharmacies to stock and dispense the pills

Four pharmacists in Washington state had sued the state, claiming the rules violated their First Amendments rights to free exercise of religion, and had won a temporary injunction that allowed them to refuse to sell Plan B as long as they referred customers to another pharmacy.

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, saying the district court was wrong in issuing it based on an erroneous finding that the rules violated the free exercise of religion clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Other constitutional challenges are pending with the district court, which had been waiting for the 9th Circuit ruling on the injunction

Nevertheless all pharmacies in Washington state are now required to stock and dispense Plan B. Naturally, anti-choice groups are up in arms. The Pacific Justice Institute complains that

…pharmacists may soon be forced to choose between dispensing abortifacients, including Plan B, or leaving the profession.


The Ninth Circuit today reversed the injunction, holding that it wrongly considered the debate over the regulations in determining that they targeted pharmacists with religious convictions. The Ninth Circuit said the history of the rules was irrelevant since the text does not specifically mention religious beliefs. As a result, a much lower standard applies, under which the government is virtually assured of prevailing in the case. The Ninth Circuit also said that the injunction was overbroad and, if issued at all, should be limited to the specific plaintiffs—not extended to all pharmacists in the state with religious objections.

This anti-choice site is also whining and crying about the decistion.

You know what? That’s just tough. I am so sick and tired of these anti-choice people whining about being required to, you know, do their jobs. If they don’t want to do the job, then they should find another one. Women who need Plan B–perhaps even because they have been raped–should not have their rights to legal medication subordinated to whims of anti-choice fanatics. Frankly, I think the same standards should be applied to doctors and nurses. If you don’t want to perform abortions, then don’t be a doctor. Get into another field in which the responsibilities are in tune with your religious beliefs.

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30 Responses

  1. I’ll never forget when I learned that it was “common knowledge” that taking two birth control pills after having unprotected (for whatever reason) sex was a “morning after pill” — I was nearly 50….

    It’s about time this Plan B pill was routinely available — this a great day!

    • Right now, it only affects Washington state, but it will set a precedent.

  2. I posted this on another site and thought I would reproduce it here………..

    A woman’s right to bear and conceive is hers…AND HERS ALONE! I as a man do not condone abortion but as a “Father” of three daughters, I understand that a woman’s body and what she chooses to do with said body is hers and not mine to legislate!
    When a man can carry a child in his belly for 9 months..When a man can put up with the cramps and the bloating….When a man can endure the pain of passing a 7/ 9 pound human through his pee hole…Then he has the right to open his DAMN MOUTH! Until then,,,STFU!

    That’s how I feel about the whole situation!

  3. I love the threat to leave the profession. Who the heck cares if some pharmacist decides to change professions in protest. If they don’t perform the job, they should be let go or have their license revoked.

    I’m wondering how many people who religiously oppose modern medicine choose pharmacy, nursing, or medical industry positions for their careers.

    • Yea, me too. Oooh, what a threat. I think a good response is, promises promises. Please do leave the profession and do the universe a big favor.

    • Amen to that! If they didn’t want to do their job they shouldn’t have taken it in the first place. There’s nothing “ethical” about only distributing the medication that your religion approves. Quite the opposite.

    • They can take a quick course in “You want fries with that whopper?”. That would be an adequate change.

  4. whats a abortifacients, ?

  5. So if this “religion”(egg=baby) these dipsticks have catches on, will all egg-bearing women get to park in those reserved spaces close to the door at the mall? There could be a bright side to all this batshit crazy!

    • I never thought of it that way Joan! What a hell of a way to get a great parking spot at the mall!

      • Guess you can tell that I’ve been envious of those spaces for quite some time! They didn’t even have them when I had my kids. 😦

  6. Good! The whole thing is ridiculous. Can pharmacists refuse to dispense Viagra to men whom they know aren’t married? Can a Jehovah’s Witness physician refuse to order a blood transfusion? Hey, let’s have some Christian Scientist pharmacists refusing to dispense any drugs at all!

    You have every right to your religion, but if you can’t keep your religion and do the job, then you need to find another job. You are guaranteed the right to practice your religion, but you are not guaranteed that your job must change its standards for your religion.

    • Exactly. These people only get a “conscience” when they can interfere with women’s rights. A man’s right to viagra is sacred!

    • Or how about clerks who have the religious position that pork is unclean or that cows are sacred?

      I mean why is it that this particular belief should be given precedence over other belief systems and if this was going to be the case then why shouldn’t I be able to tell my employer I am personally opposed to – so therefore you still have to employ me but I shouldn’t have to do it?

  7. Did ya’ll know that there’s a “Conflucians Say” show scheduled? Got an email.

  8. “…pharmacists may soon be forced to choose between dispensing abortifacients, including Plan B, or leaving the profession.”

    I guess if they can’t do their job than they should leave the profession. And they should check their hypocrisy too, because I bet none of them have a problem handing out viagra or any number of prescriptions that have been recalled because they are not safe. Not to mention medication mistakes which kill a lot of people in this country.

  9. If you don’t want to perform abortions, then don’t be a doctor. Get into another field in which the responsibilities are in tune with your religious beliefs.

    Exactly right. If I’m orthodox Jewish or an observant Muslim, and I dream of being a butcher, I’m obligated to work for a kosher or halal butcher shop or seek other suitable employment. I may not go to work for the local supermarket and demand their meat department change to suit me. I thought taking one’s own faith seriously meant that, occasionally, one was willing to sacrifice something for it.

    Isn’t the legal standard for a religious accommodation is whether or not you can perform the ‘essential function” of the job? The example once offered to me: you might need another day off than the rest of the staff for religious services, but if the employer’s operations could be accommodated reasonably, then you’d get the day off. If the operation were in business on that day of the week only, you’d be out of luck, since working on that day was part of the essential function of doing the job.

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