Friday, July 10, 2009

Pharmacist's Cannot Refuse to Dispense Plan B Pill

The Los Angeles Times has the story:

Ruth Johnson was refused emergency contraception due to the pharmacists' religious beliefs against the Plan B pill. A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that pharmacists must dispense Plan B, even if it is against their personal beliefs. (Photo: Abby Ruston)

A pharmacy owner and workers had sued Washington state to block a requirement that they stock and sell the "morning after" contraceptive.

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.

The three 9th Circuit judges found common ground despite differing outlooks: Two conservatives named to the court by President George W. Bush and a liberal named by President Clinton made up the panel.

The right to freely exercise one's religion "does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability," the 9th Circuit panel wrote.

"Any refusal to dispense - regardless of whether it is motivated by religion, morals, conscience, ethics, discriminatory prejudices, or personal distaste for a patient - violates the rules," the panel said.

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