Loading
Washington state lawyers acknowledge pharmacies' right to not stock Plan B
Washington state lawyers acknowledge pharmacies' right to not stock Plan B

.- In a major reversal of their previous position, attorneys for the state of Washington have acknowledged the right of local pharmacies not to stock or dispense the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B.

On July 7, the state's attorneys told a federal judge that the Washington State Board of Pharmacy would begin revising its rules, to allow pharmacies to act on their conscientious objections to the controversial drug.

The state attorneys' new position may signal an end to a legal battle between the State Board of Pharmacy and owners of the local drugstore Ralph's Thriftway.

In 2006, the board initially granted all pharmacies the right not to stock or prescribe medications to which they objected on religious or moral grounds. However, the board later changed these rules after publicly coming under fire from Washington's governor, Christine Gregoire.

The subsequent change in policy attempted to force pharmacies to stock and dispense Plan B or other drugs regardless of religious or moral objections, prompting a legal challenge from Ralph's Thriftway. Its owners sued the state of Washington in 2007, asserting that their right to refuse to sell Plan B, in accordance with the state's original rules, was a matter of religious freedom.

In 2009, a federal judge sided with the store's owners, but had his ruling struck down on appeal.

On Wednesday, however, the board's lawyers acknowledged that pharmacies with religious or moral objections could refer those seeking Plan B to another drugstore, without interfering with patients' “timely access” to a “lawfully-prescribed medication.”

Eric Rassbach, the National Director of Litigation for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the firm representing Ralph's Thriftway, interpreted the reversal as "a clear signal to Governor Christine Gregoire that her bullying tactics are not acceptable."

"First," Rassbach reported, "she threatened to fire the members of the State Board of Pharmacy if they did not agree with her; then, she tried to pressure the pharmacy by joining a boycott against Ralph's Thriftway.”

"It may come as a surprise to her, but conscientious and principled people like the owners and pharmacists of Ralph's Thriftway are the backbone of this country," he said.

Also commenting on the case was Luke Goodrich, legal counsel at The Becket Fund, who stated, "The government should accommodate and protect the fundamental rights of all members of the medical profession, not punish some members because of their religious beliefs.”

Attorneys for Ralph's Thriftway agreed to postpone the case from going to trial, while the pharmacy board considers the revisions to its rules.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
21

Liturgical Calendar

April 21, 2014

Monday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 2:14, 22-33
Gospel:: Mt 28:8-15

Saint of the Day

Holy Thursday »

Saint
Date
04/21/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14
04/19/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: