Appeals Court Thwarts Evangelical Pharmacists’ Objections To Filling Prescriptions

Religious pharmacists
Something every human being experiences is an inner sense of what is right or wrong in one’s conduct that impels them toward right action founded on the complex ethical and moral principles that control or inhibit their actions or thoughts. For an alarming number of Americans, their thoughts and actions are not driven by their inner sense of right and wrong, or their conscience, but rather what their bastardized Americanized Christianity tells them is right and wrong. Since demigod Ronald Reagan’s administration, the religious right inculcated in their weak-minded followers that what is morally right is using their religious conscience to control and impose their will on other Americans; particularly American women. In that sense, the American religious right’s conscience is identical to the extremist ISIS and Taliban conscience in that their “inner sense” informs their religious right to force compliance to their religious concept of right and wrong.

In America, the idea that a Christian’s conscience gives them authority to withhold medical services from non-compliant Americans is the foundation of the various Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA) being passed in theocratic Republican states. For the record, those “religious freedoms” were not restored from a previous time; they are a relatively new concept first introduced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) in the late 1970s to early 1980s and quickly embraced by theocratic extremists in the religious right movement. However, those so-called “religious freedoms” to use “religious conscience” to deny medical care were dealt a setback this week in Washington state.

According to a unanimous decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, “pharmacy owners do not have a constitutional religious right to refuse to dispense medicines.” The plaintiffs in the case claimed that according to the Washington state and federal RFRA, their conscience supersedes physicians’ expertise and women’s rights and afforded them legal authority to deny prescription drugs, particularly birth control, to patients on the basis of their religion. The pharmacists also were prevented from denying patients physician-prescribed “diabetic syringes, insulin, HIV-related medications, and Valium;” different medicines that curiously violated Washington state evangelicals’ religious conscience.

The lawsuit, Stormans v. Wiesman, centered around a Washington state law that allows “individual pharmacists” to refuse to fill a particular prescription, but only “so long as another pharmacist working for the pharmacy provides timely delivery.” Washington’s RFRA was written to guarantee that when a doctor prescribes legal medicine, a pharmacy is required to dispense it; the plaintiffs in the case disagreed according to their religious conscience. The Court ruled that according to Washington’s RFRA, the “evangelical conscience clause” does not, however,  allow ‘the pharmacy itself ‘to refuse to dispense a prescription “even if the owner of the pharmacy has a religious objection.” Two of the people who joined the state officials defending the rule, an HIV-positive man and a woman with AIDS, were rightly fearful that they would be denied “timely access to their prescription medications” if the court sided with the plaintiffs.

According to legal experts, the case should have never made it to the appellate court in the first place. The federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) does expand religious extremists’ authority far beyond the minimum requirements of the Constitution, and it is that federal RFRA the Supreme Court’s Vatican-5 used in lieu of the Constitution to rule in favor of the Hobby Lobby corporate conscience.  However, that particular (federal) RFRA only applies to challenges against the U.S. Constitution and federal laws and of course religion trumps the Constitution these days. The Stormans v. Wiesman case challenged the validity of the Washington RFRA’s clause requiring “another pharmacist to deliver timely delivery” of physician prescribed medicine and state law challenges are governed by a much less stringent constitutional standard; especially when theocratic challenges are brought in a federal Appeals Court. The Supreme Court already ruled in 1990 that the U.S. Constitution “does not relieve a religious individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes).”

The Ninth Circuit unanimously explained that the Washington state rules are just such a “neutral law of general applicability.” The Court explained that, among other things, that “the rules’ delivery requirement applies to all objections to delivery that do not fall within an exemption, regardless of whether that objection is rooted in religious faith or some other reason.” In essence the Appellate judges said that a person who refuses to fill an anti-HIV prescription due to their religious objection to sexual activity that may cause someone to become infected with HIV is treated identically to someone with a purely secular objection to filling the same prescription. Obviously, the ruling and the assertion that a religious fanatic is treated the same as a secular person will not sit well with theocrats.

The only reason the original theocratic lawsuit was not summarily dismissed by the trial judge first hearing the case is because, like the Vatican-5 in Hobby Lobby, the judge ruled that regardless established medical science or Washington’s RFRA, “the plaintiffs had a religious right to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraception premised on their religious right ‘to refrain from taking human life.'” For the one-thousandth time, a zygote or fetus is not a human life according to the theocrats’ own Christian bible where their god said there is no human life, or specifically no living being, until that fetus exits the womb and breathes air of its own accord. Further, contraception cannot possibly “take a human life” because it prevents fertilization, or implantation, of an ovum and therefore cannot in any way, shape, or form be regarded as an abortifacient.

These fanatical Christians, and frankly they are as fanatical as any ISIS or Taliban religious extremist, truly believe that their religious conscience gives them authority over not just medical doctors and their patients, but the population in general. This type of ‘conscience religious objection’ extends far beyond just a pharmacist refusing to do their job and fill a doctor’s prescription for contraceptives. Evangelical medical providers and first responders have attempted to use their religion as a reason to deny medical services, including lifesaving medical care to anyone they “think” acts contrary to their religion’s dictates or their religious conscience.

This case, although properly dispensed by the Appellate court, is not the end of the religious freedom cabal’s assault on Americans, particularly where women’s constitutionally protected reproductive rights are concerned. However, during this American Dark Age where evangelicals are regularly exerting their ‘religious freedom’ over women, and the LGBT community, it was refreshing to see that at least, for a change, a unanimous panel of Appellate Court judges comprehend that America is not yet a biblical theocracy. Once the Court understood that simple, 236-year old fact, they ruled the only way they could according to the U.S. Constitution;  being an evangelical extremist does not supersede other Americans or their physicians’ rights to receive medical care or practice medicine. The distressing part is that the plaintiffs are certain to appeal to the Vatican-5 on the Supreme Court and after properly dismantling the religious clauses in the 1st Amendment, they will likely rule theocratically that, like in Hobby Lobby, evangelical extremists have religious freedom to control women and prevent physicians from practicing medicine; a ruling that would endear them to extremists in ISIS and the Taliban.

34 Replies to “Appeals Court Thwarts Evangelical Pharmacists’ Objections To Filling Prescriptions”

  1. …people who are in SECULAR jobs who wanna make thier RELIGIOUS VIEWS dictate whether they will do thier job…should be fired with Extreme Prejudice…forcing them to go to a 22nd rate religious college to get a degree in Drive-by Preaching…
    …what happened to that dipshit clerk anyway???

  2. Filling prescriptions??? What has religious beliefs got to do with filling prescriptions? As long as the pharmacists is not OBLIGED to use those products, it’s none of his business!

    The whole “religious freedom” charade will not stop until the day a Muslim doctor/policeman/fireman refuses to help a Christian based on his religious beliefs…

  3. SCOTUS is walking on egg shells as it is. Everything the “libruls” on the court said would happen because of Hobby Lobby is now coming true and the conservatives on the court are feeling the heat of general consensus that Hobby Lobby was a bad ruling. They had better be careful or they could lose what little credibility they still retain.

    I’m guessing that they will refuse to hear any challenge to the Appellate Court’s ruling.

  4. …found it!!!
    Kentucky County Clerk Demands His Bigotry Be Accommodated By The State Government

    By: Adalia Woodburymore from Adalia Woodbury
    Tuesday, July, 7th, 2015, 7:47 pm

  5. Because providing birth control is an abortion. I keep remembering when I first starting posting I had a discussion with a very conservative catholic and he swore on the virgin mary that their goal was not to limit birth control but o limit abortions. He didn’t call for an outright ban because even he knew there would be exceptions. Right now I bet he is smiling saying to himself we are almost there

  6. Well, it is against my belief that paying people who don’t do their job is wrong.

    Does that mean I can stop paying my taxes because Congress is not doing their job?

    These evangelicals are pathetic.

  7. Scalia and the other four should not be sitting on the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court Judge is supposed to use what is in The US Constitution to decide whether a law or action is Constitutional or not. Using one’s religious beliefs, as Justice Scalia has said he does,to decide what is and is not Constitutional shows they are unqualified to be a Supreme Court Justice. The US Constitution is very clear in what part religion plays in US laws and does not differentiate Christianity with any other religion.

  8. Condoms are and have been condemned by the Catholic Church for it’s/their role in preventing conception.

    And yet every self-righteous pharmacist who refuses to sell the ‘day after’ pill or equivalent, has NO PROBLEM selling condoms.

    If they wish to use their religion to deny others the morning after pill- then they need to advertise it on their store’s sign in plain sight.

  9. We need to revive a robust Public defenders office in every courthouse. They are attempting to replace the constitution with the bible. Public defenders act a a check on judges and rogue lawmakers.

  10. Kind of makes you wonder what if a Scientologist is your pharmacist. Will he decide whether you get blood thinning medication, or cancer medication? Or how about sleeping pills they dislike. They might disapprove of your need for Viagra, assuming you’re a sex addict. It’s amazing what can happen if you ride this train to all possible outcomes.

  11. They had better be careful or they could lose what little credibility they still retain.

    Too late!

    This should just serve to fuel us up and get out the vote in 2016 – for Democrats.

    About four justices are ready for retirement (or keeling over in their posh seats) and we need to ensure that a Democrat is in the White House and that the Senate is in Democratic hands or we’ll lose the SCOTUS for a generation to more corporate-owned and operated theocrats.

  12. Any article you click on to look at the upper left hand corner of your computer and right click on that, copy and then paste it to your comment

  13. Ever since the debut of the Goebbels Channel we have been bombarded by this alleged “War on Religion/Christianity/Religious freedom/etc.etc. When in fact this “war” has been ONLY the word NO! They live in denial of the word and get irate when you use it to express REAL freedoms. I say since we sane Americans have been accused of waging a “war” against them that it is time that we give them a WAR! We should take up arms in the way of FACTS,TRUTH,And LOGIC! and destroy their power to wage war on reality and the people of the world. Faith is for those who cannot accept reality.

  14. They called it Class Warfare, when we decided to fight back.

    And they’re calling it a War on Religion, when we decided to again fight back.

  15. Speaking as a diabetic, and a cancer patient these thumpers scare the hell out of me. What do they have against insulin?

  16. This fake religious $HIT needs to stop! NEWS FLASH republicans, if you’re working in the public, leave your FAKE mumbo jumbo FAIRY TALE religious nonsense at home! republicans are truly mentally ill! WTF make any human being thinking bringing YOUR religious feelings to WORK makes ANY sense??? how about this, lets say one of these RIGHT WINGers goes out for chinese food, and the waitress sees one of them wearing a crucifix and promptly REFUSES to serve them because it offended THEIR religious beliefs?!! ALL HELL would break loose!! those RIGHT WINGers would be suing that restaurant to kingdom come!! RIGHT WINGers, YOU need to grow up! keep your FAKE A$S religion at home! because REAL americans just might decide to give YOU a dose of your own toxic behavior!

  17. Link:

    What I do for links.

    I google. When a site comes up that I like (usually after reading over and parsing the info), I go up to the hyperlink line – where usually you see a ‘www.’ in it.
    I use the mouse to give that line a single click.

    That is enough to cause the entire line to go ‘reverse’ in blue.

    You can then copy that line by:
    on your keyboard press down and hold the control (ctrl) key and the letter ‘c’ key.

    This copies the highlighted line.

    Going to the comment box. I click where I want the link to go, and I tap the Ctrl key and the “V” key. This pastes the line that I copied.

    Try it and after a few times, it’ll be second nature.

  18. Any pharmacist must have a state issued license to dispense medicines. I haven’t examined any state laws on the subject, but the presumption is that such a license requires equal treatment of all persons in the use of that license.

    It should be within the power of a state’s “board of pharmacy” to suspend such a pharmacist’s license for discriminatory treatment. Let them sue to get their license back.

  19. Abbutt vetoed the mental health bill because the Church of Scientology said it was mind control

    But isn’t “JADE-HELM “Obama is going to take over Texas” also MIND CONTROL???

  20. YOUR religious beliefs are just that – YOURS. Don’t attempt to push them off on me, you will NOT have a good day if you do.

  21. Oh, damn, this started, in WA, the minute the FDA gave approval for Plan B way back in 1999 and its still going on.

    The problem started with the owner of a grocery store that also had a pharmacy in it. The owner flat out refused to fill any prescription for Plan B (that was before the FDA agreed to make Plan B OTC, & back then a prescription was required). In fact he refused to honor any prescription for birth control.
    There was a big hoopla and HHS came up with that compromise to required SOMEONE to be available to honor the prescriptions and its been a battle ever since.

    In northern and eastern WA some towns a quite small and may have only 1 Pharmacy requiring women to travel long distances to fill a prescription. AND if it isn’t a local doctor that can be a block too.

    Oh yeah, this will go to SCOUTS. They could refuse to hear it, but I sure as heck wouldn’t hold my breath. They’ve proven that they could care less about women’s need. After all men rule, don’cha know

  22. Even that hasn’t stopped it. Remember the Muslim taxi drivers in Minnesota who refused service to people carrying alcohol or taking dogs (including service dogs) with them? Minnesota courts ruled against the drivers, but that hasn’t stopped the Christians.

  23. “The whole “religious freedom” charade will not stop until the day a Muslim doctor/policeman/fireman refuses to help a Christian based on his religious beliefs…”

    I truly would like to see this.
    It would cause a very much needed redress of this idiocy.

    As all thinking human beings know, religion was invented when the first fool met the first charlatan and, it has gone downhill ever since.

  24. WOW!!
    The comment section in that link is just full of trolls who are whining at each other while ignoring the subject.
    Typical of most sites.
    Thankfully, we here are capable of common sense based reasoning.
    Wait, I’m not always included in that. LOL

  25. In the almost 50 years I worked I was never given a choice. If I didn’t like what I had to do on my job I did have one choice. Find one I did like. Not that easy in mills and factories. All these Christians needs a few years in a hosiery mill boarding room. They are so anxious to turn the clock back to the fifties I would actually spend my food money to watch how long one of them would last. Temps and humidity in the nineties and steam in your face and the only fan a propeller in the ceiling with windows open to draw in the “fresh” air. It was so hot the windows stayed open in the winter. The job was piece work and if you couldn’t keep up you were fired and replaced with some other desperate victim.

  26. Religion attacking law is not new. In the 15 and 1600s, Conventicle Acts were passed that did the very same thing to protect the established church. Roger Williams inveighed mighty against such laws. It was in his warning to Endicott.

    These so-called “conscience clauses” are nothing more than an attempt to establish certain individuals and religions’ beliefs as the law of the land, which is in clear violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

    SCOTUS’ Vatican-5 erred grievously in their Greece NY, Hobby Lobby and Boston Domestic Terrorists decisions giving religious beliefs supremacy over individual consciences.

  27. If I’m not mistaken, the Chief Justice leads the conferences that decide which cases to hear, and Roberts is young. Even if the court becomes less stacked with crazy-lazies, Roberts is going to limit what cases they hear. Reagan and the Shrubs screwed us.

    O/T – I can’t see any way to reply in Firefox. I don’t generally use Internet Explorer, and I can’t see any way to contact anyone. Am I the only one? TIA!

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