Pharmacists with religious objections to “morning-after” emergency contraceptives cannot be compelled to sell the product, an Illinois Circuit Judge ruled Tuesday.
The Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act was passed in 1998 to shield health care workers from going against their own beliefs. In 2005, then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued a ruling to force “pharmacies to fill prescriptions without making moral judgments.”
Two pharmacists, Luke VanderBleek and Glenn Kosirog, sued for the right to not dispense the pills.
Circuit Judge John Belz wrote that the 1998 law “was designed to forbid the government from doing what it aims to do here: coercing individuals or entities to provide healthcare services that violate their belief.”
Attorney Mark Rienzi, who represented the pharmacists with the help of the American Center for Law and Justice, called the ruling “a very good thing.”
“The judge’s decision makes clear that religious people don’t have to give up their religion, don’t have to check their conscience at the door, to enter the health care profession,” Rienzi said.