Today, the United States Supreme Court vindicated our 11 years of advocacy for Washington patients by refusing to hear Stormans v. Wiesman, in which an Olympia-based pharmacy and two pharmacists alleged that the Washington State rule requiring all pharmacies to fill lawful prescriptions was unconstitutional.
The Court’s refusal to hear this case affirms the Ninth Circuit decision protecting patients’ rights to timely access to prescriptions—including emergency contraception—regardless of an individual pharmacist’s refusal to fill them because of religious or moral objections.The State can now begin enforcing this rule, which has been on hold since the Board of Pharmacy adopted it in 2007.
The Court recognized what we already knew: patients' rights to health care must prevail over a health care provider's personal or religious beliefs. A rule simply requiring providers to do their job does not infringe on anyone's religious rights.
The Supreme Court’s order carries significant weight—not just for Washingtonians, but for patients nationwide. Individuals and companies have increasingly sought to use religious objections as justification to discriminate or seek exemption from laws. For example, providers have refused certain types of health care coverage to patients based on religious objections to such services, and business owners have refused LGBTQ customers a range of services in violation of anti-discrimination laws.
We intervened in this case to protect patients' access to safe and legal health care. And rest assured, we will continue fighting. But today, we pause to raise a glass to our passionate and dedicated cooperating attorneys, allies, and supporters who have stood by us the whole way.
- Court Ruling Stands: Pharmacists Must Supply Emergency Contraceptives, Seattle PI /28/16
- Supreme Court Decision Means Washington Pharmacists Must Fill Prescriptions Regardless of Religion, Puget Sound Business Journal 6/28/16
- Supreme Court Rejects Olympia Pharmacy on Emergency Contraception, KIRO 7 6/28/16