On Wednesday, the Federal District Court for the Western District of Washington issued an opinion in Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky concerning the above. As it is unlikely that you will hear about this case from the main stream media, I thought this post appropriate.
In the State of Washington, as I suppose it is in many states, pharmacies are required to stock and dispense drugs. If a pharmacy doesn’t have a particular drug, for whatever reason, the pharmacy must refer the patient to another pharmacy that carries that drug. In Washington, until 2007, a pharmacy, or a pharmacist could refuse to stock or dispense the Plan B emergency contraception (i.e., the ‘morning after pill”) for reasons of conscience, and instead direct the patient to a nearby pharmacy that had the drug.
Not so after 2007. The Washington Board of Pharmacy issued a rule prohibiting any pharmacy from not distributing, in this case, the morning after pill, for “reasons of conscience”…secret code for religious beliefs. The Stormans hold such religious beliefs, and they refused to comply. Instead, they did what they had always done…refer patients to a nearby pharmacy that would dispense the morning after pill.
But, for the “pro choice” groups, such as Planned Parenthood, that wasn’t good enough. Let me add, parenthetically, how can a group call itself “pro choice” when, in this case, it seeks only to stop the choice of the Stormans?
After discussing “access to contraceptives” (a term we have heard a great deal about recently), the court found that the rule requiring all pharmacies to distribute Plan B contraceptives violated the freedom of religion rights granted by our First Amendment.
The opinion is some 96 pages long, and, interesting, I suppose, only if you are an attorney, but, if nothing else, please go to page 87 and learn what the “pro choice” folks will do to make sure that your only “choice” is their choice. No, let me tell you what the court found:
a. In accordance with both the National and State Pharmacy Association, the Board originally voted in favor of accommodating conscientious objections.
b. Within hours of the Board’s pro-conscience vote, the Governor [of Washington] and Planned Parenthood set in motion a plan to reverse the Board’s decision. The Governor publicly threatened to replace members of the Board, and the Governor, based on the unprecedented participation of Planned Parenthood and other pro-choice advocates in the Board interview process, did, in fact, refuse to reappoint Board Chair Awan.
c. The Governor’s own handwritten notes indicate her primary concern was ensuring the Regulations were “clean enough for the advocates [ i.e., Planned Parenthood] re: conscious/moral issues.”
d. The Governor ultimately advocated a draft regulation that prohibited conscience based referrals.
e. To ensure her victory, the Governor personally called the Board Chair to pressure him to pass her Regulations, after she had advised her staff that calling Board members was unlawful.
f. When the Chair resisted, the Governor replaced him with appointees recommended by Planned Parenthood.
g. Neither the Board nor the Governor ever researched access to Plan B (or any other drug) before passing the Regulations. The Board never identified a single incident in which a patient was unable to gain timely access to Plan B. And its post hoc survey of access to Plan B showed that there was no problem of access.
The lengths to which the left will go to deny rights while proclaiming that they are in favor of rights seems to be endless.