by Steven Ertelt
August 17, 2005
Springfield, IL (LifeNews.com) — A legislative rules committee has voted to make permanent an executive order issued by Gov Rod Blagojevich to require pharmacists to fill prescriptions for all legal drugs, including the morning after pill, which can sometimes cause an abortion.
A majority of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted Tuesday to allow Blagojevich’s rule to become permanent once papers are filed with the Secretary of State.
The rule requires filling any prescription and, if the pharmacist will not do so for moral or religious reasons, he must help customers get the script filled at another pharmacy.
The governor imposed the rule in April after abortion advocates complained that an Osco pharmacist in Chicago refused to fill prescriptions for the morning-after pill known as Plan B.
Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Republican lawmaker, called the rule "right on the money."
But several Illinois pharmacists have filed three separate lawsuits to overturn the rule.
Illinois pharmacist Luke Vander Bleek, one of the litigants, says the debate is a human rights issue.
"I will not invest, and I will not practice in an environment in which we are legally obligated to be involved in the destruction of human life," he explained.
He said Blagojevich’s order "creates an environment in Illinois whereby a person holding deep moral convictions concerning the unborn cannot own and operate a licensed pharmacy."
Commenting on approving the rule, Michael Patton, executive director of the Illinois Pharmacists Association, told Copley News Service that he wants state lawmakers to draft legislation making sure pharmacists are protected when they have moral objections to filling certain prescriptions.
Sen. Brad Burzynski of Clare and Rep. Dave Leitch of Peoria, both Republicans, voted against making the rules change permanent.
"There are many (pharmacists) who believe that the morning-after pill is an act of abortion," Leitch told CNS. "That is a right of conscience."