Wisconsin Appeals Court Upholds Sanctions Against Fired Pro-Life Pharmacist

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 26, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Wisconsin Appeals Court Upholds Sanctions Against Fired Pro-Life Pharmacist Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
March 26
, 2008

Madison, WI (LifeNews.com) — A three-judge panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeals in Wisconsin on Tuesday upheld a ruling by the state Pharmacy Examining Board against a pro-life pharmacist. Neil Noesen was from a K-Mart store in 2002 and claimed religious discrimination for not wanting to fill prescriptions for drugs he says can cause an abortion.

Noesen is one of a growing number of pro-life pharmacists not wanting to distribute the birth control drug or emergency contraception pill.

He refused to fill university student Amanda Phiede’s oral contraceptive prescription while he was working as a substitute pharmacist at a Kmart pharmacy in Menomonie, Wisconsin.

Phiede then asked him where else she could get the prescription filled, and Noesen refused to provide her with that information and wouldn’t transfer the script to another pharmacy.

The state Pharmacy Examining Board sanctioned Noesen in 2005 in the case.

It required him to state ethics classes and pay back almost $21,000 in costs it incurred to investigate his situation. Doing those things were a condition of him receiving his license back.

According to AP, the state appellate court upheld the 2006 ruling of Barron County Circuit Judge James Babler which validated the reprimand.

In addressing his appeal of a judge’s decision upholding the sanctions, the appeals court panel said Noesen had the right to refuse to dispense the objectionable drugs but should have referred the customers to another pharmacist.

Judge Michael Hoover wrote, Noesen "prevented all the efforts [Phiede] made to obtain her medication elsewhere when he refused to complete the transfer and gave her no options for obtaining her legally prescribed medication elsewhere."

"The board could therefore properly conclude that he violated a standard of care applicable to pharmacists," he added.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin applauded the ruling but Karen Brauer, president of Pharmacists for Life International, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel she hopes Noesen takes his case further.

Thomas Brejcha, an attorney from the Thomas More Society representing Noesen, told the paper he plans to take the case to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Brauer previously talked with LifeNews.com about the case in 2006.

"There has been no proof of harm, or possible harm coming to the patient from being deprived of her medication until the next day," she said.
"Birth control pills used for that stated purpose are not a medical necessity, since there are other options for preventing birth," the brief states.

Brauer pointed out that the state of Wisconsin does not have a law mandating that pharmacists transfer a prescription to another pharmacy if the pharmacist cannot fill it.

"Therefore, Neil Noesen has broken no pharmacy regulation," Brauer said.

Related web sites:
Pharmacists for Life International – https://www.pfli.org