[Now Morr-Fitz v. Quinn] The ACLU of Illinois is participating actively in a lawsuit raising the fundamental question of whether a private, for-profit business should be permitted to discriminate against some customers on the basis of the proprietor’s religious beliefs. We have acted as an amicus (friend of the court) in the case, brought by three Illinois pharmacies and their individual owners. The pharmacies are challenging a state rule requiring community pharmacies in Illinois to dispense, and otherwise facilitate patient access to, medication approved by the FDA, including contraception.
Particularly, the plaintiffs in this case object on religious grounds to the requirement that they dispense or otherwise assist patients in accessing contraception. We have urged the courts to consider the impact that such refusals have on women seeking constitutionally-protected health care.
Update: On September 21, 2012, an Illinois Appellate Court issued a ruling excusing the plaintiffs from the rule’s requirement but keeping the state rule in place for all other community pharmacies in Illinois. In so ruling, the Court expressly rejected the notion that the interests of women seeking access to lawful medication were at all relevant to its analysis. The State of Illinois has not yet said if it will seek leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.