Illinois: Victory for Pro-life Pharmacy Owners | American Center for Law and Justice
  Search  |  Login  |  Register

By Jay Sekulow1307561638000

It's a case that has been ongoing for six years.  And, today, a sweeping victory for pro-life pharmacy owners in Illinois.

A state court in Illinois today issued a decision striking down a state law that compels pharmacy owners to dispense Plan B and other forms of emergency contraception, even if doing so violates their religious or moral beliefs.

In August 2009, a state judge granted our request for a preliminary injunction in the case of two pharmacy owners, Luke VanderBleek and Glenn Kosirog in the case of  Morr-Fitz, Inc. v. Blagojevich.

The case went to trial in March 2010 and a decision today by Judge John W. Belz of the circuit court sitting in Springfield declared that the state law violates the state's Health Care Right of Conscience Act, the Illinois Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and the Free Exercise of Religion Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  The decision is posted here.

Senior Councel Francis J. Manion has been working on this case for years and puts this decision into perspective:

"Today's decision is a major victory for the rights of conscience.  After six long years of litigation, our clients have finally prevailed against a state government determined to coerce them and all pro-life pharmacists into violating their deeply held religious beliefs or give up their livelihoods.  Judge Belz's decision makes clear that both Illinois state law and the First Amendment will not permit this. This country was founded by people with a strong commitment to religious freedom. That's why freedom of religion is the first freedom protected in the Bill of Rights. For government at any level to try to run roughshod over that freedom is to abdicate the government's primary responsibility."

We were assisted in this case by Mark Rienzi of Catholic University's Columbus School of Law, who served as co-counsel.

In his ruling, Judge Belz noted that "The government asserts that this Rule serves a compelling interest in timely access to drugs. Yet the government concedes that it had never done anything to advance its asserted interest prior to April 2010. Even as to emergency contraception, the Court heard no evidence of a single person who ever was unable to obtain emergency contraception because of a religious objection."

This is the latest victory in an ongoing effort to protect the fundamental right of pharmacists to practice their profession without having to violate their conscience.

In Menges v. Blagojevich, we represented seven individual pharmacists who succeeded in having the state amend the regulation to recognize the conscience rights of individual pharmacists.  In Vandersand v. Walmart and Quayle v. Walgreens, the ACLJ convinced two other courts that Illinois pharmacists are protected by the State's Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

We'll let you know if the state decides to appeal today's decision.

Latest in
Pro Life

Uncovering the Real Cost of Abortion

By Palmer Williams1469655391152

When Cecile Richards , Planned Parenthood president, spoke to the Democratic National Convention this week, she claimed, “Planned Parenthood was founded 100 years ago, giving women the care they need to live their lives and chase their dreams – no limits, no ceilings.” Yet what she failed to...

read more

Congress Exposes Corrupt Big Abortion

By Edward White1469237077139

Since October 2015, the United States House of Representatives’ Select Investigative Panel on the Transfer of Fetal Tissue has been investigating Big Abortion. The Panel was created soon after the release of a number of undercover investigative videos by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP). These...

read more

Corporations Captive to Pro-Abortion Left

By Walter M. Weber1468938308061

One of the biggest myths in popular culture is that big businesses are conservative. To the contrary, many huge corporations and the biggest law firms have now become huge influencers for progressivism and pressure engines for the political Left, as they have demonstrated in a variety of contexts .

read more

Federal Court Blocks Abortion Ban

By Geoffrey Surtees1467396969800

Yesterday, a federal court prohibited the State of Indiana from enforcing its “ Sex Selective and Disability Abortion Ban ” while the case continues through litigation in that court. As its title suggests, the law prohibits a person from performing an abortion if the person knows that woman is...

read more