Some Illinois pharmacists say the doctor doesn't always know what's best--or moral. The druggists are refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency birth control, known as the "morning after" pill. They say the pill amounts to a form of abortion, which they oppose, since it can work after an egg is fertilized. Gov. Rod Blagojevich, declaring it's not a pharmacist's business what a patient has been prescribed, has issued an edict requiring pharmacies to comply with doctors' orders.
Now the American Center for Law and Justice, which champions conservative religious causes, has filed suit against the order in state court. The center claims the order violates the state's "conscience clause," which allows health-care providers to withhold a treatment if they deem it against their beliefs. Blagojevich says pharmacists are not covered by the law. But Frank Manion, a lawyer for the firm challenging the governor, argues that forcing the pharmacists to prescribe the birth control "makes them participate in what they would consider the termination of human life." The suit was filed on behalf of two pharmacists, Peggy Pace and John Menges, in the Illinois town of Edwardsville. Manion said the company that employs the pharmacists has sent them e-mails saying they could be "vulnerable to discipline" if they do not obey the governor's order.
Blagojevich, a Democrat, says the suit is merely an effort to deny women their legal reproductive rights. He said women should be able to fill birth-control prescriptions "without delay, without hassle and without a lecture."