September 24, 2012

On Friday, September 21, 2012, an Illinois appellate court issued a ruling in Morr-Fitz v. Quinn, a case brought by a number of for-profit Illinois pharmacy corporations and their owners, challenging a state rule that requires community pharmacies to dispense lawful medication – including birth control – to patients. The plaintiffs challenged this rule based on their owners’ religious objections to dispensing contraception and to permitting their employees to assist patients in accessing such medication at other pharmacies. The Court ruled that the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act allows these pharmacies to turn patients away who are seeking to obtain lawful medication. The ACLU of Illinois filed an amicus curiae brief in the case urging the court to reject the plaintiffs’ complaint.

The following can be attributed to the ACLU of Illinois:

This decision shockingly holds that the interests of women patients seeking medication at Illinois’ licensed pharmacies are irrelevant. The court ignored these interests and essentially ruled that the religious practices of the pharmacy owners trumps women’s health care. The Health Care Right of Conscience Act cannot permit such callous disregard of pharmacy patients seeking essential medication.
If the courts believe that the law permits this willful contempt of women, the Illinois General Assembly should act quickly to change the law.