Illinois Pharmacists Want Court to Overturn Blagojevich Morning After Pill Mandate

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Illinois Pharmacists Want Court to Overturn Blagojevich Morning After Pill Mandate Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
March 18
, 2008

Springfield, IL ( — Pharmacists asked the Illinois Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a mandate from Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring them to dispense the morning after pill. Issued three years ago, Blagojevich’s executive order requires pharmacists to fill orders for all drugs, including those that would violate their religious or moral views.

The case heads to the state’s top court after lower courts ruled the pharmacists had no standing because they had not yet been fired or disciplined over the governor’s mandate.

The pharmacists said they should be able to argue the rule is unconstitutional and violates state law giving certain rights to medical professionals before they are adversely affected by it.

According to an AP report, attorney Mark Rienzi told the court the pharmacists have already had to turn away customers who wanted the morning after pill and they worried it will only be a matter of time before they could face scrutiny.

Any of the customers could have complained to the state and triggered disciplinary proceedings.

An attorney for the governor claimed the pharmacies involved in the lawsuit don’t stock the morning after pill so the chances are low they would violate the governor’s order.

However, the judges asked the attorney about a provision in the executive order asking pharmacies to purchase the Plan B drug if customers request it.

Luke Vander Bleek, who owns a pharmacy in Morrison and others in Sycamore and Genoa and is the immediate past president of the Illinois Pharmacist Association, has said pharmacists shouldn’t be forced to dispense the morning after pill.

“Emergency contraception is not health care,” he said. “My understanding of pregnancy is that it’s not a disease or an illness.”