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Pharmacists sue over Illinois contraceptive rule

By Sean Crawford, Illinois Public Radio

Springfield, Ill – Five Illinois pharmacists who were suspended for refusing to agree to dispense emergency contraceptives are taking their case to federal court.

A suit filed in Springfield seeks to overturn the state's rule that requires pharmacies that carry other types of contraceptives to also fill orders for the more controversial drugs, like the so-called "morning after pill."

Frank Manion filed the suit on behalf of the five pharmacists who worked at Wallgreen's.

He said the state has violated their religious freedom.

"The regulation that Illinois passed fails to acknowledge the fact that there are many pharmacists across the state who have a sincere, deeply-held religious objection to certain kinds of, so-called emergency contraceptives," Manion said.

The pharmacists have also filed discrimination claims with the equal employment opportunity commission.

Governor Rod Blagojevich earlier this year implemented the rule requiring emergency contraceptives be given out at all pharmacies. A spokesperson says he stands by that decision.