An Illinois judge is enacting a temporary rule that two pharmacists who have religious objections cannot be forced to dispense the “morning after pill”. The pharmacists object to the use of the pill because they believe its use is comparable to abortion. The judge issued a restraining order that allows the two (who own a total of five pharmacies between them) to refuse to sell the pill until a final decision is reached in the case. The Illinois Supreme Court issued a ruling that the case must be heard and it is expected to reach court by June.
In similar news, physicians are banding together to protect a rights of conscience rule that George W. Bush signed into law at the end of his term as president. Just before leaving office, Bush signed the regulation that ensured physicians rights to refuse treatment (such as abortion) that they view as unethical.
Recently, the Obama administration has discussed rescinding the regulation which has physicians rallying to protect their rights. Obama’s supporters suggest that the regulation itself isn’t needed since prior regulations are already in place to protect physicians. That has not stopped physicians’ advocacy groups from rallying to protect the new legislation.
As the case in Illinois prepares for court it is being watched closely for its potential impact on the status of pharmacists and eventually physicians throughout the rest of the country.