Illinois Pharmacist Will Appeal Decision Over Governor, Morning After Pill

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Pharmacist Will Appeal Decision Over Governor, Morning After Pill Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 28
, 2007

Springfield, IL( — A pro-life pharmacist in Illinois is filing an appeal with the state Supreme Court after his lawsuit challenging an executive order issued by Gov. Rod Blagojevich was dismissed. Luke Vander Bleek of Morrison filed the lawsuit in 2005 after the governor ordered all pharmacies to dispense the morning after pill.

Last week, the 4th District Appellate Court dismissed the suit, which seeks to block the executive order, on a 2-1 vote. Their decision upheld a ruling by a Sangamon County court.

Vander Bleek spokes with the Pantagraph newspaper about the decision and said he doesn’t like the morning after pill because he believes it can cause an abortion in some circumstances.

"I don’t regard pregnancy as a disease," he said adding that he finds the decision "unfair."

He owns pharmacies in Whiteside and DeKalb counties and doesn’t want to be forced to sell the Plan B drug.

But, Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff told the newspaper the governor was pleased by the ruling.

"Mr. Vander Bleek can appeal if he wants — that’s his right," she said. "But the outcome will not change. There is no provision in our laws that will let a pharmacist deny a patient access to healthcare."

The judges said the court didn’t need to get involved in the dispute but Justice John Turner dissented and pointed to statements the governor made saying he would take "any and all necessary steps" to force pharmacists to distribute the morning after pill.

Blagojevich issued the executive order 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.