by Steven Ertelt
June 8, 2005
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — A third lawsuit has been filed against Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich because of his order that all pharmacists in the state should fill all legal prescriptions — including those for drugs that sometimes cause abortions.
On Wednesday, Americans United for Life filed suit on behalf of pharmacy owner Luke Vander Bleek of Morrison, Illinois against his April "emergency rule."
Vander Bleek and the pro-life law firm assert that his rights of conscience would be violated he if were forced to dispense the sometimes-abortifacient morning after pill, marketed as Plan B.
"Luke Vander Bleek is suing to protect his rights as an American — his right to build a business, contribute to society as a health care professional, and to live according to his principles," attorney Edward Martin, director of AUL’s Center for the Rights of Conscience, said.
"The Governor is trampling the rights of health care professionals and small business owners through his emergency rule," Martin said.
The lawsuit, like two others that have been filed against Blagojevich since he announced the new rule, say his actions violate the Health Care Right of Conscience Act by compelling pharmacy owners to carry such drugs.
That statute makes it unlawful for any public official to discriminate or punish any person who refuses to "participate in any way in any particular form of health care services contrary to his or her conscience."
The suit says the governor’s rule essentially requires pharmacists to either violate their moral or religious beliefs or choose another career.
AUL attorneys are worried the rule could set a national precedent that would require pharmacists to dispense such drugs in other states.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life law firm, filed suit in state court on behalf of six pharmacists who say dispensing such drugs violates their moral beliefs.
The Center for Law and Religious Freedom is suing on behalf of a Chicago pharmacist.
Blagojevich’s order takes effect for 150 days while his administration pursues putting a permanent rule in place. In May, members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules defeated an attempt to overturn the rule on a 6-5 vote.
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