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Americans United for Life (AUL) applauds today's Illinois Supreme Court ruling in Morr-Fitz v. Blagojevich that individual pharmacists and pharmacy owners do have legal standing to challenge a rule requiring them to dispense Plan B, which abortion activists call "emergency contraception," regardless of their religious, moral, or conscientious beliefs.

The rule was originally forced upon the pharmacists and pharmacies by a 2005 emergency order of Governor Rod Blagojevich, who stated in no uncertain terms that pharmacists should either dispense the controversial drug or leave the profession. 

Two lower courts had previously ruled that the plaintiff-pharmacists and pharmacies did not have legal standing to challenge the rule.

Dr. Charmaine Yoest, AUL President and CEO, stated, "This is a huge victory for the freedom of conscience of all healthcare providers.  Pharmacists now have proper recourse against a discriminatory law that would force them to check their constitutional rights at the workplace door."

Mailee Smith, AUL Staff Counsel, noted, "Finally, an Illinois court got it right.  If pharmacists and pharmacy owners don't have standing to challenge a rule that unfairly targets them, who does?  People should have legal recourse when the state attempts to circumvent and even eliminate their constitutional rights."

AUL provided legal support to the Plaintiffs from the initiation of the case, most recently filing an amicus brief before the Illinois Supreme Court on behalf of American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, and other medical groups.  The brief argued that the Plaintiffs' rights of conscience — specifically their rights to decline to dispense prescriptions in violation of their consciences — are guaranteed under both federal and state law.

AUL's brief is available at
About Americans United for Life
Americans United for Life (AUL) is a nonprofit, public-interest law and policy organization whose vision is a nation in which everyone is welcomed in life and protected in law. The first national pro-life organization in America, AUL has been committed to defending human life through vigorous judicial, legislative, and educational efforts at both the federal and state levels since 1971. The Wall Street Journal has profiled AUL, and PBS's Frontline program chronicled AUL's successful efforts in Mississippi.

[18Dec08, Press Release, [email protected], 202-289-1479; Chicago, IL,]