Medical Associations File Supreme Court Amicus Brief Supporting Pharmacists’ Conscience Rights
Washington, D.C., February 5, 2016. Bioethics Defense Fund, along with co-counsel Americans United for Life, filed a key amicus brief on behalf of five medical associations in a case with profound implications for healthcare rights of conscience. The case was brought by a family pharmacy and several Christian pharmacists who have conscience objections to a Washington state regulation forcing them to stock and dispense so-called “emergency contraceptive” drugs known to have the capacity to take human life at the embryonic stage of development.
BDF president and general counsel Nikolas Nikas said, “We commend these five medical associations for educating the U.S. Supreme Court that objective science informs the pharmacists’ moral beliefs.” BDF lead counsel Dorinda Bordlee noted, “Science and morality point in the same direction; it is critically important that the Supreme Court grant review in this case so that it can affirm the national consensus on healthcare rights of conscience protected by the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
The five medical associations include the American Association of ProLife Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Catholic Medical Association, Christian Medical Association and Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International.
The medical associations’ amicus brief is in support of a family-owned pharmacy’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, in which the pharmacists ask the Court to review a decision from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Ninth Circuit reversed a favorable district court decision finding that the Washington State regulation violated the Free Exercise Clause, and that the pharmacists’ “religious beliefs prevent them from stocking or delivering Plan B or ella.”
To demonstrate that the pharmacists’ moral beliefs are informed by objective science, the brief sets forth a survey of peer-reviewed medical literature establishing (1) that a new, distinct, human being comes into existence at the moment of sperm-egg fusion, and (2) that the objectionable drugs, Plan B and ella, have the capacity to end the life of a new human being at the embryonic stage of development.
The case is Stormans v. Wiesman, Sup. Ct. No. 15-862.
The amicus brief can be viewed here: FILED-SCOTUSStormansPetitionAmicusBDF.
Bioethics Defense Fund, www.BDFund.org, is a public interest legal and educational organization whose mission is to put law in the service of human life.
Contact: Dorinda C. Bordlee, firstname.lastname@example.org