Court: Gov. Can't Force Sale of Morning After Pill

Court says Blago violated law

Even before the 75-page, 16-count indictment against Rod Blagojevich alleged stunning criminal behavior, the state House impeachment panel accused the former governor of abusing his power in numerous ways that constituted a pattern of illegalities, from a flu vaccine program and a prescription drug plan that allegedly violated state and federal law to the routine flouting of a legislative rules committee.

And the hits just keep on coming:

"A judge has ruled state officials can't force pharmacists to dispense the so-called 'morning-after' pill," AP reports. "Two Illinois pharmacists won the temporary restraining order in Sangamon County Circuit Court on Friday.

"They claim a 2005 order from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that they must dispense such pills violates state law prohibiting enforcement of health care decisions over religious objections."

At the time, Salon wrote that "Blagojevich handed down the executive order after a pharmacist in Chicago refused to dispense Plan B, the morning-after pill, to a customer. The pharmacist's supporters defended him by invoking the state's Right of Conscience Act, which permits doctors and other 'medical personnel' to deny health care services to a patient if it violates their moral convictions. Gov. Blagojevich says the law does not apply to druggists."

The Sangamon County Circuit Court's decision to the contrary follows an order last December from the Illinois Supreme Court that the circuit court had to consider the case.

"[T]he opinion said Blagojevich’s public statements that pharmacists with moral objections 'should find another profession' could be seen as a signal the state would allow no exceptions to the rule," the Tribune reported then.

"Justice Charles Freeman dissented, joined by Justice Anne Burke. He said it was inappropriate for the court to rely on the governor’s public statements about the rule."

Or at least foolhardy. Regardless of which side you are on, the former governor clearly mucked this one up. Just add it to the list.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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