Judge: Pharmacists Can't Be Forced to Dispense Plan B

Washington state pharmacists no longer required to dole out emergency contraception
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2012 12:32 PM CST
The Plan B pill, also known as the 'morning after' pill, is displayed on a pharmacy shelf February 27, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Pharmacists in Washington state who disagree with emergency contraception on religious grounds can no longer be required to dispense it, a federal judge ruled yesterday. The judge declared the state's regulation unconstitutional, noting that pharmacies in the state are allowed to not stock drugs for various secular reasons—for instance, not stocking Oxycodone over fears of robbery—and should be allowed similar refusals for reasons of "conscientious objection."

The suit to block the regulation was brought by a drugstore owner and two of his pharmacists, all of whom consider emergency contraceptives equivalent to abortion and thus refuse to stock it. Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire, who had no immediate comment, had pushed for the regulation requiring pharmacies to dispense emergency contraception, Reuters notes. An Illinois state judge struck down a similar law in that state last spring.

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