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Law group sues governor over rule targeting pro-life pharmacists

.- A lawsuit has been filed in an effort to protect a pharmacist’s right to continue to carry out his profession consistent with his Christian beliefs.

The Center for Law & Religious Freedom was one of several law groups that jointly filed a suit on behalf of pro-life pharmacist David Scimio. The suit challenges Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's "emergency rule" that requires pharmacists to dispense contraceptives, even if doing so violates their religious and ethical beliefs.

The Alliance Defense Fund, Americans United for Life, and John Mauck and Jason Craddock from Mauck and Baker, joined the Center for Law and Religious Freedom in filing the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that the governor's rule violates Scimio's rights, protected by the Illinois Healthcare Right Conscience Act, and exceeds the governor's authority under state and federal law.

Governor Blagojevich filed the emergency rule April 1, stating that a pharmacist "must dispense . . . without delay" contraceptives, including the morning-after pill or Plan B.

A pharmacist at Albertsons, a grocery store in Chicago, Scimio has not dispensed emergency contraceptives. Albertsons accommodated Scimio's religious beliefs until it was required to order the pharmacist to comply with the governor's "emergency rule" earlier this month.

Scimio's attorneys will file a motion seeking an immediate temporary restraining order against the governor.

"Governor Blagojevich must not be allowed to ignore the law and elevate convenience over individual rights of religious belief and moral conscience," said litigation counsel Casey Mattox. "We are hopeful that the judicial department of the State of Illinois will fulfill its proper function by restraining the governor from remaking state law in the image of his own personal political viewpoints."

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