Saturday, July 2, 2016

Supreme Court: Pharmacies Cannot Cite Religion To Deny Medication

In a victory for secular Americans the Supreme Court rules pharmacies cannot cite religious objections to deny patients emergency contraceptives.

Earlier this week the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from Washington state pharmacists who said they have religious objections to dispensing Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.

By refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court affirms a ruling issued last year by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. At that time the appeals court ruled that a Washington state mandate for pharmacies to sell all prescription drugs does not discriminate against religious believers.

The decision is good news for secular Americans, and a defeat for those that advocate for religious liberty (i.e. special treatment for conservative Christians).

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas dissented from the refusal to hear the case. Speaking for the minority Justice Alito wrote:
If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern.
Also commenting on the ruling, the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said:
A pharmacist’s personal religious beliefs must not be allowed to get between a patient and her doctor. The Supreme Court did the right thing by refusing to hear this case.
For the record, the government is not punishing anybody for their religious beliefs. The government is only making sure that pharmacists are not allowed to use their religious beliefs as a justification to deny patients necessary medication.

Bottom line: If you’re a pharmacist, do your job. If you don’t like doing your job, find another job.


U.S. Supreme Court (Image via Wikimedia)


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