Illinois Pharmacists May Defy Blagojevich on Morning After Pills

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 7, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Pharmacists May Defy Blagojevich on Morning After Pills Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 7
, 2005

Springfield, IL ( — Pharmacists in Illinois who have moral issues with dispensing the morning after pill may defy an order by Governor Rod Blagojevich requiring them to dispense the drugs, which sometimes cause abortions. On Friday, he issued an emergency executive order requiring all state pharmacists to fill prescriptions for such drugs

Rock Island pharmacist Jim Perry owns District Drugs and plans to not follow the order because it violates his conscience.

"I have no problem offering birth-control pills or other contraceptives," he told the Quad Cities Dispatch newspaper. "But I’m not going to offer this drug. Ordering me to do this would be like ordering all doctors to perform abortions. You just can’t expect pharmacists to do this."

State Rep. Ron Stephens, a pharmacist from Mulberry Grove, agrees with Perry.

"I would never fill a prescription for something like this. And I don’t think any health-care professional should be forced to violate their religious beliefs by filling such a prescription," Rep. Stephens told the Dispatch.

Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life, contends Blagojevich’s order violates state law and hinted that a lawsuit could be filed to overturn it.

She says state law allows Illinois health care providers to not participate in medical services about which they have a moral objection. The statute specifically protects doctors and nurses and the Illinois Pharmacist Association says the language is broad enough to include pharmacists as well.

"The problem is the governor can’t read. And he is going to get sued over this. And he is going to be embarrassed — all because he can’t read," Brauer told the Quad Cities newspaper.

The governor weighed in on the debate because, on February 23, a pharmacist at an Osco Drug in Chicago decided against filling two customers’ morning after pill prescription.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has filed a formal complaint against the pharmacy for "failing to provide appropriate pharmaceutical care to a patient.”

The new rule says pharmacies must make sure another pharmacist is on hand to fill the drug if a pro-life pharmacist says he has a moral problem.

Blagojevich’s order takes effect for 150 days while his administration pursues putting a permanent rule in place.

Related web sites:
Pharmacists for Life International –