Emergency Contraception, Pharmacy Board

State Seeks Delay in Pharmacy Refusal Case

You are not going to believe this. Our fight for strong Pharmacy Board rules that protect access to needed medications, including emergency contraception, is facing an alarming setback.

As you may remember, back in 2007, thanks to an outpouring of letters, phone calls, emails, and public testimony from pro-choice activists, the Washington Board of Pharmacy passed two rules that expressly protect patients’ access to medications at the pharmacy counter. Under these rules, a patient cannot be turned away due to the personal, non-medical beliefs of a pharmacist.

However, a pharmacy owner and two pharmacists filed a lawsuit against the rules. That case has taken a series of twists and turns, including a Ninth Circuit ruling in support of pharmacy access, and a trial on the rules has been set for the end of the month.

Then, last week the Pharmacy Board called a last-minute meeting and voted to re-open the rulemaking process, potentially to weaken the pharmacy access rules we worked so hard to pass.

And on Wednesday, the State of Washington, joined by the anti-choice plaintiffs in the case, filed a motion requesting a delay in the trial to allow time for a new rulemaking process.

It is outrageous that the Board of Pharmacy and the State are jeopardizing our hard-fought victories for women’s health. We cannot afford to lose ground on this important fight for access to needed, time-sensitive medications.

Stay tuned for updates on this case and how you can get involved. Be prepared to stand up and protect access to essential health care for women and for all Washingtonians.

Check out Publicola’s coverage of the pharmacy refusal case here and here.

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