BLOGPharmacists Should Not be Forced to Abandon the Right of Conscience

By Alliance Defending Freedom Posted on: | May 02, 2016

The Stormans family is asking the Supreme Court to protect the rights of conscience, not only for themselves but also for pharmacists and pharmacy owners throughout the country. Forty-nine states currently allow pharmacists to refer customers to other pharmacies for a variety of reasons, including conscience-based reasons. Only one state does not allow referrals motivated by conscience—Washington. Washington State chose to ban conscience-based referrals even though no customer has ever been denied timely access to any drug due to such a referral.

If Washington’s attack on the right of conscience is allowed to stand, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the other advocacy groups behind the law have pledged to make every effort to export the law to other states. If they succeed, people of faith will face the choice of abandoning their sincerely held religious beliefs, or leaving their chosen profession.

Pharmacists should not be forced to abandon the right of conscience. Recognizing the importance of this issue, 38 professional pharmacy associations, including the American Pharmacists Association, 43 members of Congress, 449 Catholic bishops from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), more than 4,600 individual healthcare providers, and many more, have demonstrated their support for the Stormans’ right to conscience-based referrals by asking the Supreme Court to take their case.

  • Professional Pharmacy Associations:The Ninth Circuit’s decision effectively eliminated pharmacists’ right not to participate in actions they conscientiously oppose, even though a ‘right of conscience’ has always been integral to the ethical practice of pharmacy.
  • 43 Members of Congress: "All of us should have the right to hold a belief and not be compelled by the State to act contrary to that conviction. It is the difference between the free society and the one subject to tyranny.”

  • 13 State Attorneys General:"The Ninth Circuit below offers no explanation for why Washington found it necessary to take away conscience rights to facilitate the timely delivery of prescribed medication to patients..."

  • 29 Legal Scholars: "The [Ninth Circuit] thus validated a multi-year campaign by ideologically motivated activists to drive one small pharmacy out of business because of its religious practices."

  • 449 Catholic Bishops of USCCB:  "The Ninth Circuit’s decision is also a serious threat to religious liberty, not just of the Petitioners and similar healthcare providers, but also of all people and institutions of faith."

  • 4,609 Individual Healthcare Professionals: "Compelling healthcare professionals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs threatens to drive qualified and talented individuals from the profession."

Show Your Support for the Stormans

As we wait to hear if the Supreme Court will hear this case, show your own support for the Stormans and pharmacists throughout the country by reading and sharing this graphic.


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Alliance Defending Freedom advocates for your right to freely live out your faith

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