I doubt that this will hold up to appeal. But it is encouraging. H/T Mark Shea.
A Sangamon County Circuit Court judge on Tuesday struck down a 6-year-old state rule that required Illinois pharmacies to dispense emergency contraception.
Judge John Belz ruled in favor of two pharmacy owners — Luke Vander Bleek of Morrison and Glenn Kosirog of Wheaton — who didn’t want to dispense or stock “morning-after” pills or help patients obtain them elsewhere.
“We’re thrilled,” Mark Rienzi, a Catholic University law professor and one of the pharmacy owners’ lawyers, said after the ruling. “The law of Illinois and the law of the United States make it clear that people can enter the health-care profession without having to check their conscience or religion at the door.”
Robyn Ziegler, spokeswoman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, said, “We’re disappointed with the ruling. There is a compelling need for emergency contraceptives to be available at all licensed pharmacies in Illinois.”
The pharmacy owners, both of whom are pharmacists, oppose emergency contraception on religious grounds.
Even though lawyers for the state argued otherwise, Belz ruled that pharmacies and pharmacists are protected by the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act, as well as the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, when they refuse to perform services on moral grounds.
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