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

ACLJ Profile Completion

Verified

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

Justice Denied for the Unborn in Texas

By Michelle Terry1487863412886

It has long been said, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” Yesterday, thanks to a decision issued from a federal judge in Texas, justice has again been denied to the most vulnerable among us – the unborn. In the case titled Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas Family Planning v. Smith , Judge Sam...

read more

Big Abortion is Proof that Nero is Alive

By Nicole Smith1487348741784

There has been a veil cast across society. A mirage so effective it’s nearly impossible to look through and see the reality of our present circumstances. TeenVogue, a publication targeting young teen girls, gave us a small glimpse of our true reality when it published its “Post Abortion Gift...

read more

Planned Parenthood’s Spin Factory

By Nicole Smith1486585585940

There are moments in life that you come across something that just confounds your senses, where you pause momentarily to try to soak in exactly what you’ve just witnessed. Does it match your worldview or is it in direct violation? Does it pluck at your heartstrings genuinely or is it fundamentally...

read more

Today We March for Life

By ACLJ.org1485522000000

Today tens of thousands of Americans gather in our nation’s capital to stand for the sanctity of human life at the 2017 March for Life . The March for Life comes at a critical time. In recent days, we have seen legislative efforts to protect the sanctity of human life. We're encouraged by the...

read more