Last week, a Federal court ruled that, despite Illinois law, pharmacists in Illinois can refuse to dispense emergency contraception. The state passed a law in 2005 that requires all pharmacies to dispense EC. As a result, Wal-Mart (and other companies) have disciplined pharmacists that refused to follow the rule. Then came the lawsuits and the bad news.
U.S. District Judge Jeanne Scott denied a request Tuesday by Wal-Mart to throw out a lawsuit filed by pharmacist Ethan Vandersand. Scott sided with Vandersand, who had claimed he was legally protected from discipline by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act when he declined to dispense Plan B. Vandersand, who lives in Bluffs, formerly worked at the pharmacy in Beardstown's Wal-Mart. He was put on unpaid leave after he refused to fill a Plan B prescription requested by a nurse practitioner at Springfield's Planned Parenthood on behalf of a female patient in February 2006.
Wal-Mart had contended the state's right-of-conscience law doesn't cover pharmacists. Walgreen Co. has made the same argument in other Illinois lawsuits filed by fired pharmacists.
But Scott wrote in her ruling, "The statute prohibits discrimination against any person for refusing to provide health care because of his conscience." Read more...