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Pharmacists win fight, won’t be forced to sell ‘morning-after pills’

State attorney general won’t take issue to Ill. Supreme Court

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012 1:43 p.m. CDT
Luke VanderBleek

MORRISON – A Morrison pharmacist said he felt “terrific” Tuesday after a legal victory upheld his right not to sell emergency contraception.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said she won’t appeal a state appeals court ruling in favor of Luke VanderBleek and another Illinois pharmacist who objected to having to provide emergency contraception on religious grounds.

Madigan notified the Illinois Supreme Court of her decision last week, saying her office “decided not to pursue further review.” The Illinois appeals court ruled in September.

“We’re thankful that the courts upheld our arguments,” VanderBleek said Tuesday.

VanderBleek, 49, of Morrison, owns Fitzgerald Pharmacy in Morrison and Eggleston’s pharmacies in Sycamore and Genoa. He has been a pharmacist since 1986.

VanderBleek and Glenn Kosirog wanted to shield their pharmacies from a 2005 executive order issued by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring all pharmacists to fill prescriptions for the so-called morning-after pill.

They argued that they were protected by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which says health professionals cannot be punished if they refuse to offer a service because of conscientious convictions.

VanderBleek said his case was not about attaining special rights, but about retaining his rights.

The Associate Press contributed to this report.

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