Appeals court rules against pharmacists’ conscience rights, ADF vows to appeal

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday against Washington state pharmacists’ right to refuse to dispense abortifacient drugs, Alliance Defending Freedom has announced.

The court chose to uphold the Washington Board of Pharmacy mandate challenged by the Stormans family, who owns the Ralph’s Thriftway grocery store and pharmacy. ADF notes that the board originally sided with the family, but reversed itself in the wake of pressure from Governor Christine Gregoire.

“The state allows pharmacies to refer for all kinds of reasons,” Stormans President Kevin Stormans noted. “In practice, it only bans religiously motivated referrals. With 33 pharmacies stocking the drug within five miles of our store, it is extremely disappointing that the court and the state demand that we violate our conscience or lose our family business.”

Observing that the decision has broad ramifications for religious health providers in the state and that “no woman anywhere in Washington has been denied timely access to these drugs for religious reasons,” ADF Vice President of Legal Services Kristen Waggoner vowed that her organization will appeal the ruling.

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