A victory – 5 years in the making – for conscience. freedom of religion, and the “free exercise thereof.”
A lower court issued an injunction against the new rules, on the basis that the suit was likely to succeed. In 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the lower court ruling that had temporarily put on hold a requirement for pharmacists to dispense all legal drugs.
Now back at the lower court level ruling on the merits of the case itself, the court issued the pharmacists a legal victory.
“The Board of Pharmacy’s 2007 rules are not neutral, and they are not generally applicable,” the Court explained. “They were designed instead to force religious objectors to dispense Plan B, and they sought to do so despite the fact that refusals to deliver for all sorts of secular reasons were permitted.”
“The Board’s regulations have been aimed at Plan B and conscientious objections from their inception,” the court explained. “Indeed, Plaintiffs have presented reams of [internal government documents] demonstrating that the predominant purpose of the rule was to stamp out the right to refuse [for religious reasons].”