ILLINOS, United States, December 22, 2005 ( –The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced today that legal action is underway in defense of two pharmacists who were fired for refusing to hand out abortifacient drugs.

“These Conscience Clause cases are significant and represent the cutting edge of the abortion debate in our country right now;” ACLJ said in a statement to the press. “Doctors, nurses and pharmacists should not be compelled to violate their conscience and participate in an abortion procedure.”

The pharmacists were suspended indefinitely from a Walgreens pharmacy after refusing to sign a document stating they would dispense all legal drugs, which would include the ‘morning after’ pill.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is named in the lawsuit, issued the rule requiring pharmacists to dispense any legal drug carried by a pharmacy. ACLJ says the order is a violation of the religious rights of the pharmacists, as it could force them to hand out drugs that may cause an abortion.

Blagojevich filed the emergency rule in April 2005 after a Chicago pharmacist refused to fill emergency contraceptive prescriptions because of moral objections (Associated Press).

Emergency contraception, or Plan B medication, can cause abortion by preventing the baby from attaching to the wall of the uterus in the earliest stages of development.

Pharmacists’ right to refuse to dispense medication that goes against their religious beliefs is a growing battle in the U.S. At least 11 states are considering proposed legislation that would protect pharmacists, while in California, Missouri and New Jersey, laws have been proposed that would favor the customer (Washington Post).

There are no federal laws requiring pharmacies to fill all prescriptions.

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