An Illinois appellate court Friday affirmed a lower court finding that the state cannot force pharmacies and pharmacists to sell emergency contraceptives – also known as “morning after pills” – if they have religious objections.
In 2005, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich mandated that all pharmacists and pharmacies sell “Plan B,” the brand name for a drug designed to prevent pregnancy following unprotected sex or a known or suspected contraceptive failure if taken within 72 hours.
Some pro-life advocates object to the drugs, which work by preventing the release of an egg, preventing fertilization or stopping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.
In 2011, an Illinois judge entered an injunction against the rule, finding no evidence that the drugs had ever been denied on religious grounds, and that the law was not neutral since it was designed to target religious objectors.
The Illinois appellate court agreed that the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act protects pharmacists’ decision not to dispense the contraceptives due to their beliefs.