Illinois Judge Won’t Stop Blagojevich Rule Against Pro-Life Pharmacists

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 24, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Judge Won’t Stop Blagojevich Rule Against Pro-Life Pharmacists Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
September 24, 2005

Springfield, IL ( — An Illinois judge has refused to issue a temporary restraining order stopping a rule put in place by pro-abortion Gov. Rod Blagojevich that would require pharmacists there to dispense the morning after pill, which sometimes causes an abortion. They said to be forced to do so would violate their religious and moral beliefs.

Sangamon County Judge John Belz would not block the governor’s rule because he claimed the pharmacists don’t yet meet the legal standards needed for him to do so because they had not exhausted other legal remedies.

"I believe the plaintiffs are here early," Belz said, according to a Copely News Service report. "You may very well have your day in court. Today is not the day."

Edward Martin, an attorney for Americans United for Life, a pro-life group representing the pharmacists, says he’s disappointed by the ruling.

"We feel like this is a setback, and I’m sorry for my clients who have to now go back to living with this rule that’s onerously put on them," Martin told CNS. "A temporary restraining order is just one step, and we’re very disappointed. But we will continue to battle in court."

Blagojevich issued the ruling in April after a Chicago pharmacists declined to fill a prescription for the Plan B drug and a state legislative panel made it permanent. Other pharmacists say they would do the same thing if not for the mandate.

"This comes right at the heart of a moral question for us as to whether or not I and my businesses can be involved in products that destroy life," said Luke Vander Bleek, a pharmacy owner from Morrison and one of the plaintiffs in the case. "I reject it. I answer on that question to a much higher authority."

The restraining order would have put the rule on hold until the courts can determine whether it violates state laws protecting medical professionals.

But, Terence Corrigan of Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office argued that the pharmacists did not have standing to sue because they had not yet had to refuse to fill a prescription for the morning after pills.