How supremely ironic is it that at the same time the Obama administration is seeking to force religious organizations to offer insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, a federal district court in Washington State has ruled that the state cannot force pharmacies to dispense those very same drugs?
That’s right. And this comes close on the heels of what amounted to a 9-0 smack-down of the administration by the Supreme Court, which insisted in the Hosanna-Tabor case that even in hiring, the First Amendment gives “special solicitude to the rights of religious organizations.”
So, even though the administration is seeking to trample religious rights by executive fiat, for now, at least, the courts are having none of it.
After five years of litigation, U.S. District Judge Ronald Leighton has ruled that the State of Washington cannot force pharmacies to sell Plan B or other emergency contraceptives, which many pro-lifers quite rightly see as abortion drugs.
Now, the makers of Plan B will claim that it isn’t an abortion drug, that it merely prevents pregnancy. But the product information included with this drug, which can be taken up to three days after intercourse, says quite clearly that Plan B “may inhibit implantation” of a fertilized egg by causing the lining of a woman’s uterus to thin.
Friends, that means a genetically complete human being will die in the womb, and that’s abortion!
Judge Leighton, in a very meticulous opinion, notes that the state has already provided numerous exemptions to a law mandating that pharmacies stock drugs that the public wants, exemptions based on non-religious reasons. So, Leighton says, forcing pharmacists to stock Plan B despite their religious objections amounts to an unconstitutional case of religious discrimination.
And so it does. So, while this case will probably be appealed — the pro-abortion lobby never sleeps — for now, at least, pharmacies and pharmacists in Washington State will not have to choose between their religiously informed consciences and their jobs and businesses. They’ll actually be able to make their own choices in this matter.
Choice? Hey! What a concept!
And I have even more good news: The lead counsel in the case, Kristen Waggoner, is a graduate of our Centurions Program. The Centurions Program trains and brings together leaders like Kristen in a growing network of Christian worldview movement leaders. You can find out more about how you or a leader you know can become a Centurion by visiting BreakPoint.org.
Kristen was gratified by the decision. Here’s what she told us at BreakPoint, “The case will likely be appealed by Planned Parenthood, but Judge Leighton’s extensive findings have set us up well for an appeal.” She says, “It’s a great decision and we’re thrilled with it. I am so thankful for the pharmacy owner and two pharmacists willing to stand up for their religious convictions in the face of great adversity.”
And Kristen, we are so thankful for you, and for other Centurions who are out there making a difference — and for all the friends of our ministry who faithfully support us with their prayers and gifts.
In the meantime, keep the pressure on to protect real choice, human life, and religious liberty — just as Kristen does.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.
Publication date: March 9, 2012