WHO: Kristen Waggoner and Steve O’Ban of Ellis, Li & McKinstry, PLLC
WHAT: Answering questions from the media following hearing in Stormans v. Selecky
WHEN: Wednesday, Sept. 26, following hearing, which begins at 9 a.m. PDT
WHERE: Outside the entrance of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, 1717 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
— Alliance Defense Fund allied attorneys Kristen Waggoner and Steve O'Ban will be available to answer questions from the media Wednesday following a court hearing on their motion for preliminary injunction filed against the Washington State Pharmacy Board. The lawsuit Stormans v. Selecky
seeks to protect the rights of pharmacists and pharmacies which choose not to stock or distribute abortion-inducing drugs on religious or moral grounds.
“The government cannot force pro-life or any other health care providers to violate their conscience simply to appease special interests. Society has long accepted that those with religious objections to killing in a time of war should be exempt from military service. If we exempt a soldier from killing an enemy combatant who threatens our nation, surely we ought to exempt a pharmacist who sincerely believes he or she is being forced to help destroy an innocent child in the womb,” Waggoner said. “No one should be forced to choose between keeping their job and keeping their faith.”
“The flawed process that led to the adoption of the rule stripping our clients of their right of conscience is deeply disturbing,” said O’Ban. “In 2006, Governor Gregoire actually threatened to fire the entire Board of Pharmacy when it appeared they might adopt rules that would protect the right of conscience. Because the board capitulated to the governor, our clients must now sue to get their rights back.”
Waggoner, O’Ban, and ADF represent Stormans, Inc., along with two Christian pharmacists, Rhonda Mesler and Margo Thelen. Both choose not to dispense the pill, “Plan B,” based on their moral and religious beliefs about the sanctity of human life. The pill can prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg, effectively killing it. Many health care providers, including the plaintiffs, believe that human life begins at fertilization and that the pill destroys innocent life.
In March 2006, ADF attorneys sent a letter to the pharmacy board urging them to adopt a “conscience clause” protecting the right of conscience for pharmacists. In July, Waggoner, O’Ban, and ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit and motion for preliminary injunction on behalf of Stormans, Inc..
A fact sheet on the case is available here.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.