Morning after pill swirling in controversy

By Arnold Wyrick - bio | email

HERRIN, IL (KFVS) - After six years of being forced to dispense the morning after pill to women, Illinois pharmacists now have a right to deny selling the drug to women.

The former Governor of Illinois Rod Blagojevich imposed the rule back in 2005 that forced pharmacists to dispense the pregnancy prevention pill to women.

But, Pharmacists Luke Vanderbleek and Glenn Kosirog sued over the ruling, citing it violated the right-of-conscience law, the first ruling by a circuit court dismissed the claim.

Then in 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that it must be considered. And on Tuesday Sangamon County Circuit Judge John Belz ruled that the rule did violate the state's right-of-conscience law.

"This court ruling now will allow the pharmacists to be placed in the same arena as all health care professionals," said Pharmacists Ben Calcaterra.

"And it will allow them to exercise their right of conscience to make a religious belief to make that decision."

Pharmacists still held the right to refuse dispensing the drug to patients if there were any health risks involved. And now they can deny the drug on their own beliefs.

"I believe that every health care professional be allowed to practice their profession with their own beliefs in place. They don't have to check their beliefs at the door when they walk into work."

Some women in Southern Illinois have mixed feeling though about a pharmacists deciding what's best for their future.

"I don't feel like they should be obliged to give birth control or not if it's against their religious belief, they should be respected for that," said Desiree Lee-Rodgers of Carbondale.

"Whether it's right or wrong I still feel like that young teenagers and even older people should have the opportunity to prevent a pregnancy they don't want," said Bayeena Abdul-Rahim of Carbondale.

The controversy around the little pill continues with the announcement from the Illinois Attorney General planning to appeal the Sangamon judge's ruling.

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