Subject: [Pflienews] PharmFacts E-News Update: WA state Conscience Clause case moves along; trial set for October 2008
From: PFLI PharmAid Center
Date: Thu, 08 May 2008 14:04:06 -0400
To: PFLI E News Updates , Pharmacists Conscience Coaltion


PharmFacts E-News Update -- 8 May 2008 AD #2
WA state Conscience Clause case moves along; trial set for October 2008

From a release by the plaintiff's counsel:

"In November, 2007 the federal court stopped the enforcement of new rules that would have forced pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense Plan B, a controversial drug that it’s own manufacture agrees may destroy a human, fertilized egg [sic]. A fertilized egg contains all the DNA of its parents and many believe this is a form of chemical abortion.  Regardless of one’s views regarding abortion, most would agree that the state should not force individuals to violate their consciences and participate in taking what they believe to be human life.


"The court reviewed hundreds of studies, surveys, research, analyses and other materials considered by the state Board of Pharmacy prior to adopting the flawed new rules. The Board conducted a survey in the fall of 2006 of all Washington State pharmacies.  The survey revealed that nearly 80% carried Plan B and most of the remaining pharmacies would carry the drug if they had a customer demand. The Board was also informed that Plan B is available on the Internet, through 1-800 numbers and clinics and hospitals. The Board also noted that prior to starting the rule-making process, no one had filed a single complaint against a pharmacy or pharmacist claiming that they were denied Plan B for any reason. Not surprisingly, the Board approved a rule for final passage that protected the conscience rights of pharmacies and pharmacists apparently concluding that Plan B was widely available.


"Under extraordinary pressure from NARAL-Pro Choice and other special interest groups supporting abortion, Governor Gregoire instructed the Board to adopt a rule that required pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense Plan B.  The Board reversed course and adopted Governor Gregoire’s rules which the federal court ruled are likely unconstitutional."


Update May 2008:  The opposition has sent an appeal to the Federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and that hearing will be some time during the week of July 7th.  They are appealing in order to stop the injunction which is currently preventing the enforcement of the Board's new ruling pending the lawsuit (i.e. it is allowing pharmacists to follow their conscience without fear of reprisal from employers or the board of pharmacy).  The plaintiff's  lawsuit is tentatively scheduled for October.

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