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Federal court rejects Washington rules, upholds pharmacists' conscience rights

February 23, 2012

A federal judge has overturned regulations in the state of Washington that required pharmacists to dispense the abortifacient “morning-after” pill even if they had religious objections.

Judge Ronald Leighton found that the rules, established in 2007, were “not neutral” in their impact on pharmacists. “They were designed instead to force religious objectors to dispense” the morning-after pills, he ruled.

The judge observed that under the Washington laws, pharmacists could decline to dispense other medications, and refer customers elsewhere, if they found it economically inconvenient to stock certain drugs. He reasoned that pharmacists should have the same rights if they were motivated by reasons of conscience.

The Becket Fund, which provided legal backing for the successful challenge, said that the court’s decision: “sends a very clear message: No individual can be forced out of her profession solely because of her religious beliefs.”


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  • Posted by: normnuke - Feb. 23, 2012 5:22 PM ET USA

    Excuse me, but I feel a bit of irony in all of this. The liberals pushed a rule that had the weight of governmental coercion and would force Catholics and other Christians to violate their religious beliefs. They forgot to write it in such a way that scrofulous capitalists couldn't do exactly the same things, only they for cras profit motives. And so it was overturned. Love it.