After more than three years of bouncing around in federal trial and appeals courts, Washington State pharmacists and patients both came out winners. The loser? The Washington State Department of Health. Ever since a law passed in 2007 that required all pharmacies to stock or distribute human life-destroying drugs like “Plan-B,” the state of Washington has been adamant about its enforcement. This put a family-owned, pro-life pharmacy, Stormans, Inc., and pro-life pharmacists between a rock and a hard place: either dispense medications that destroy human life and snuff out their consciences, or refuse to carry the drug and break the law – and possibly end their careers. Seeking legal protection for their right of conscience, the pharmacy contacted a Seattle law firm that includes several of the nearly 1,800 allied attorneys with the Alliance Defense Fund, an alliance of Christian lawyers and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith through a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of human life, marriage, and the family.
Earlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington halted proceedings in the case on the condition of the state’s agreement that it will seek to have the rule changed to assure pharmacies and pharmacists that their decision not to stock and dispense life-destroying drugs won’t result in the loss of their licenses. At the same time, the order stipulated – as the pharmacists had requested from the outset of the case – that patients seeking these drugs would be offered referrals from non-distributing pharmacists, which means that they will politely point patients to other providers that do carry them.
However, the anti-life opposition does not sit well with defeat. When the trial court granted Stormans an injunction against the state regulations early in the case, the Health Department appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, which then set it aside. This came as the State Board of Pharmacy itself divulged that no evidence existed to prove that any patient in the state had been denied the “Plan B” drug or any other urgently requested drugs because of religious conscience. Now that patients’ concerns have been taken care of with the new order, pro-abortion organizations, like Planned Parenthood and its allies, are asking Washingtonians to contact Governor Gregoire to express their disappointment over the state’s about-face in abandoning the forced-dispensing policy for life-destroying drugs.
As usual, we need to keep this issue on the radar screen, as the activist anti-life agenda is relentless in propagating its campaign to champion abortion and anti-life measures like “Plan B” at all costs, regardless of the damage done to mothers’ health, preborn babies’ lives, or the consciences of hard-working professionals like the pro-life Stormans pharmacists.