TOPEKA, May 16, 2012 ( – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a new law reinforcing the conscience rights of pharmacists who object to distributing drugs that could cause abortions.

On Monday Brownback signed the Heath Care Rights of Conscience Act, which bars anyone from being forced to prescribe or administer a drug they “reasonably believe” might be used to kill an unborn child, according to the Kansas City Star.

The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Lance Kinser, said the measure was aimed at the abortion drug RU-486, while opponents point out it could also be used to prevent administration of emergency contraception, which the Mayo Clinic says can keep a young embryo from implanting in the uterus, the Star notes.

The measure would also likely protect conscientious objections against “ella,” a drug related to RU-486 that has nonetheless been approved by the FDA as “emergency contraception,” and is advertised to work for up to a week after intercourse.

Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and South Dakota already have laws that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill a prescription for emergency contraceptives.

An Illinois law instituted by former governor Rod Blagojevich remains in a legal dispute after a Seventh Circuit judge struck down the measure as a wanton encroachment on pharmacists’ religious beliefs. The case is now before an intermediate appellate court following the state’s appeal.


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