Commentary, news and action opportunities related to the free exercise of faith, honoring life and caring for others. Jonathan Imbody has authored Faith Steps (http://tinyurl.com/FSstudy), directs Freedom2Care and serves as VP of Govt. Relations for the Christian Medical Association. Views expressed are personal and may or may not reflect those of the organizations.
Christian medical groups defend pharmacists in conscience court case
LEGAL SOCIETY NEWS RELEASE
November 20, 2012 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kim Colby, Senior Counsel, (703) 894-1087
GROUPS FILE BRIEF
STATE PHARMACISTS’ CONSCIENCE RIGHTS
WASHINGTON, DC – Today Christian medical professionals filed a brief in the Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals to defend pharmacists against a regulation that would force
Washington State pharmacists to dispense abortion-inducing drugs despite their
religious and moral convictions. “At a time when there is a critical
shortage of pharmacists, a regulation that forces pharmacists to choose between
their jobs and their religious beliefs needlessly threatens the health care of
all citizens of Washington State,” explained Kim Colby, Senior Counsel for
Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom.
February 2012, a federal district court declared Washington State’s regulation
unconstitutional because it violated the pharmacists’ federal right to freely
exercise their religion. The regulation unconstitutionally targets
pharmacists’ religious objections to dispensing abortifacients, even though any
pharmacist may refuse to dispense any drug for various nonreligious
reasons. Singling out religious beliefs for prohibition, while leaving
non-religious beliefs unrestricted, is unconstitutional. The state
appealed the district court decision. The brief filed today urges the Ninth
Circuit to affirm the district court’s liberty-respecting decision.
a national survey, over nine in ten (91%) of faith-based physicians indicated,
"I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to
violate my conscience." Protecting faith-based health
care professionals should be a top-priority in order to insure health care
access for millions of Americans --especially the poor and medically
underserved patients who are most likely to count on faith-based health care.
friend-of-the-court brief was joined by Christian Medical Association, American
Association of ProLife Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Catholic Medical
Association, Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, and Christian
Pharmacists Fellowship International. The brief was prepared by attorneys
at the Bioethics Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law
and Religious Freedom.