June 28, 2016


WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today declined to hear a case in which a pharmacy objected to rules that it stock and dispense common medications. The pharmacy argued that any requirement that it serve women seeking emergency contraception violated the owner’s religious beliefs.  

ACLU Deputy Legal Director Louise Melling responded with the following:

“The court properly refused to take this case. When a woman walks into a pharmacy, she should not fear being turned away because of the religious beliefs of the owner or the person behind the counter. Open for business means opens for all. Refusing someone service because of who they are — whether a woman seeking birth control, a gay couple visiting a wedding catering company, or an unwed mother entering a homeless shelter — amounts to discrimination, plain and simple. Religious freedom is a core American value and one that we defend, but religious freedom does not mean a free pass to impose those beliefs on others."

In 2007, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy adopted rules governing the stocking and delivery of medications.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected the claim that the rules violated the religious liberty of the pharmacy.

The court order can be found at:
http://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/062816zr_29m1.pdf

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