A Washington state pharmacy must stock the morning after pill despite the owner’s claim that the pill is against his religious beliefs. A federal appeals court ruled last week that Ralph’s Thriftway must stock Plan B despite his religious beliefs.
“The rules are rationally related to Washington’s legitimate interest in ensuring that its citizens have safe and timely access to their lawful and lawfully prescribed medications,” Judge Susan Graber said in her decision.
Christian News Network reports the ordeal started when Kevin Stormans, the pharmacy’s owner, received a call in 2006 asking if the pharmacy sold the morning after pill. Stomans said the store did not, and he later began to receive complaints. The Washington Board of Pharmacy then launched an investigation.
In 2007, the state passed regulations that required pharmacies stock the morning after pill. Stormans and two of his pharmacists filed suit against the state regulation, and a federal court ruled in favor of Ralph’s Thriftway.
The issue was then taken to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that Plan B must be stocked.
“The state allows pharmacies to refer for all kinds of reasons. In practice, it only bans religiously motivated referrals,” Storman said. “With 33 pharmacies stocking the drug within five miles of our store, it is extremely disappointing that the court and the state demand that we violate our conscience or lose our family business.
“All we are asking is to be able to live out the beliefs that we hold, as Americans have always been able to do, and to be able to refer patients for religious reasons, as the medical and pharmaceutical associations overwhelmingly recommend,” he said.
The case will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Publication date: July 28, 2015