Pharmacists Can Refuse to Sell 'Plan B': Ill. Judge

A judge ruled Tuesday that Illinois pharmacists can refuse to sell emergency contraception

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    A judge ruled Tuesday that Illinois pharmacists can refuse to sell emergency contraception. (Published Wednesday, April 6, 2011)

    Illinois pharmacists cannot be forced to sell the "morning-after" pill, a judge ruled Tuesday, saying it violates state law.

    Judge John Belz ruled in favor of two pharmacy owners who filed a lawsuit about six years ago over the 2005 rule imposed by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. They said they would not dispense the emergency contraception on religious grounds.

    Belz agreed, saying the pharmacists are protected by the Illinois Healthcare Right of Conscience Act. The act was designed to protect individuals from providing healthcare services that violate their beliefs.

    "It is a pill that ends life," said Chicago pharmacist Glenn Kosirog, who won the circuit court ruling. "And I can count on both hands other pharmacies in our area where they could get it [instead]." 

    The "Plan B" pill helps prevent pregnancy when taken within three days after unprotected sex. For some people, including pro-life supporters like Kosirog, that's the equivalent of abortion.

    Yolanda Soto, mother of a 7th grade son and customer at Kosirog's Western Avenue store, disagrees, saying Kosirog should fill every prescription. Another mother said she supports Kosirog, because young women "should think" about what they're doing when they have sex.

    A circuit court originally dismissed the pharmacists' claims, but in 2008, the Supreme Court ruled that it must be considered.

    The state attorney general's office plans to appeal the ruling.