Pharmacists can’t claim religion to deny emergency contraception, appeals court rules

Jul 30, 2015

by Reuters

The state of Washington can require a pharmacy to deliver medicine even if the pharmacy’s owner has a religious objection, a federal appeals court ruled on Thursday, the latest in a series of judgments on whether religious believers can opt out of providing services.

The ruling, from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, came in a case filed by pharmacists who objected to delivering emergency contraceptives. The 9th Circuit overturned a lower court that had said the rules were unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court last year allowed closely held corporations to seek exemptions from the Obamacare health law’s contraception requirement.

In Washington, the state permits a religiously objecting individual pharmacist to deny medicine, as long as another pharmacist working at the location provides timely delivery. The rules require a pharmacy to deliver all medicine, even if the owner objects.


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20 comments on “Pharmacists can’t claim religion to deny emergency contraception, appeals court rules

  • @OP – In Washington, the state permits a religiously objecting individual pharmacist to deny medicine, as long as another pharmacist working at the location provides timely delivery. The rules require a pharmacy to deliver all medicine, even if the owner objects.

    Once again we have religinuts claiming their “right to impose their stupidity on others”!

    If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen – and become a ski instructor or whatever!



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  • Indygrl76
    Jul 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Easy now– we ski instructors believe in physics too!

    True, – but ski-slopes hammer the laws of physics into unbelievers, so some learning even takes place in them! 🙂



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  • 4
    Miserablegit says:

    Funny how only the wing nuts insist they have the right to force their ideals on others and when they are slapped down then claim victimisation.



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  • Had this been allowed, a pharmacist could deny a gay person HIV meds.
    They could deny black people insulin.
    They could deny an unmarried pregnant woman Metoclopramide (anti nausea).
    A Muslim pharmacist has even more excuses not to do his job.

    If pharmacists could discriminate, so could doctors, clerks, cashiers, bakers, firemen, ambulance drivers …
    This would make a mockery of equal protection.

    Freedom of religion does not include the right to force your superstitions and prejudices on others. That is what the pharmacists were trying to do.

    “It is not prejudice if you call it religion.”
    ~ Betty Bowers



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  • Stafford Gordon
    Jul 31, 2015 at 7:45 am

    It’s a free country; isn’t it?

    Ah! – The religious ideologists’ utopia!

    Freedom to interfere in everyone’s lives, while maintaining freedom from any responsibilities or accountability for their actions!



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  • Enlightened governments and societies should encourage contraception and early elective abortion through public service messages, free or subsidized services meeting universal needs, and the construction of a family planning clinic on every street corner. The vocal Pro-life movement has driven the media and the public into a defensive position where everyone believes that a “controversy” compels the pro choice majority to cower under siege awaiting defeat. There is nothing worse for a woman (and her partner); there is nothing worse for society than an unwanted pregnancy. The sooner women (and men) use contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy; the sooner a woman with an unwanted pregnancy is proactively encouraged to terminate it, the sooner society will turn the page on the misery that overpopulation has inflicted on our species.



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  • freedom is not a license to do or refuse anything you want . Its a balance between your rights and my rights . In this case its a right to give or receive a service . A democratically elected government has created a law that the right to receive such a service is the greater freedom.



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  • Testing one, two. three, four. Are comments being automatically “blocked” at this time? I’ll try to copy and paste my innocuous comment here:

    The traditional but cognitively-dissonant consensus that most societies countenance reinforces the ethic that the moral choice, or more piously, the moral imperative demands that a woman who finds herself with an unexpected, untimely, harmful or unwanted pregnancy proceed to have the baby. The popular film “Juno” contrives a drama with quirky, ever-so-cute circumstances that confirm this traditional ethic and practice. Times have changed.

    Since the introduction of “the pill” and other innovative contraception around 1955, the sexual revolution of the 60s, and, above all, the rise of international social consciousness on the need to lower birth rates and curb population growth, a new majority is emerging that celebrates access to contraception and safe elective abortion (including abortifacients). The public, governments. and the media have lagged behind the new consensus: prevent unwanted pregnancies or terminate them early.

    In diverse communities, drug-addled women and lonely girls are obliviously praised for delivering the next dysfunctional generation to society in the form of “accidental” babies.

    Homo sapiens have reached a crisis threshold worldwide where they must stabilize and then reduce the species population. Governments must proactively advocate the new reproductive ethic and support its practice or watch their countries procreate into ant heaps.



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  • Testing one, two. three, four. Are comments being automatically “blocked” at this time?

    Not so far as we know, Melvin. And we didn’t remove your comment either. A temporary technical glitch, perhaps?
    The mods.



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  • Lawyers take note. Some of those organised religions have very deep pockets indeed, and represent a tasty target.

    If someone were to incur injury because of a refused service, legally or otherwise, and that action could be directly traced back to incitement from said organised religion, would not that not represent a windfall payday opportunity…?



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  • to the Moderator.

    It is not a temporary technical glitch. When you press ‘Post Comment’ the comment disppears.

    It happened to me in an other post on pope Francis few minutes ago.



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  • No, Fiorenzo, in your case it was different. Your comment contained several links, and such posts are automatically put aside by the site’s spam detection system, and need to be approved by a moderator before they appear. We have approved your comment now. If it happens again, please just bear with us for a while – it will be approved as soon as a moderator is online.

    The mods



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  • ‘Juno’

    Very biased agenda film wrapped in comedy’s clothing. Quote from a far, far better teen pregnancy movie: “In the end, a girl has three choices, and none of them are easy‘.

    procreate into ant heaps

    Err, thank you E O Wilson (lol).



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  • 20
    Pinball1970 says:

    “If someone were to incur injury because of a refused service, legally or otherwise, and that action could be directly traced back to incitement from said organised religion, would not that not represent a windfall payday opportunity…?”

    This has already happened Savita Halappanavar was refused an abortion in Ireland a few years ago despite being told the baby would not survive.
    Mrs Halappanaver died as a result of that decision nd there was an inquest along with calls to changes in the law.
    That discussion is still going on I presume while women are still being put at risk.



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