Walgreens Disciplines Four Pharmacists for Refusing Abortifacient Morning-After Pill Prescriptions

Thu Dec 1, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

By Terry Vanderheyden

ST. LOUIS, Illinois, December 1, 2005 ( – Four Walgreens pharmacists have been suspended without pay for refusing to dispense the abortifacient morning-after pill.

The pharmacies, all located in Illinois, are subject to a law instituted by Gov. Rod Blagojevich in April that forces pharmacists to fill prescriptions whether they are morally opposed or not.

A Walgreen spokesman, Tiffani Bruce, said the pharmacists all opposed the prescriptions on religious or moral grounds, and “have said they would like to maintain their right to refuse to dispense, and in Illinois that is not an option,” according to an AP report.

Bruce said that the Walgreens pharmacy and the chief pharmacist could have their respective licenses revoked if they don’t follow Blagojevich’s order. The unidentified pharmacists will remain on unpaid leave “until they either decide to abide by Illinois law or relocate to another state,” she said.

Blagojevich warned Illinois pharmacists in April to dispense the abortifacient morning-after pill or face legal backlash – despite a state statute that exempts pharmacists from participating in practices contrary to their religious views.

The face-off between pharmacists and the governor began after a Loop Osco pharmacist denied two women the Plan B abortifacient morning-after pill. Illinois’ Health Care Right of Conscience Act states that health care professionals are not obliged to act contrary to their conscience.

See related coverage:
  Illinois Governor Mandates Pharmacists Dispense Abortion Causing Morning-After Pills or Face Consequence

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