07 December 2005
Return of the conscience clauses: an appeals court has ruled against a gay California woman suing two doctors at a fertility clinic who refused to artificially inseminate her in 1999, citing a conflict with their religious beliefs because the woman was a lesbian (or, in the official defense presented at court, because she was unmarried). In a case that stretches, once again, the applicability of religious exemption clauses that shield medical workers from performing procedures or treating patients with whom they disagree on religious grounds, the new ruling will set a precedent for allowing doctors to use religious freedom as a defense in anti-discrimination lawsuits. In a related story, harking back to last year’s use of the religious exemption clauses, the Family Research Council is publicizing the case of four Illinois Walgreen pharmacists who have been put on unpaid leave for refusing to fill emergency contraception prescriptions in contradiction to an order made by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich last April, which requires any Illinois pharmacy that sells contraceptives to fill prescriptions for the same, without interference by dissenting store employees. As the Family Research Council pointed out though, the Christian-orientated Walgreen company has had a history of supporting anti-pill pharacists, and has now offered to move the four suspended pharmacists to another state which doesn’t offer the patient-protection in place in Illinois.