If you live in Illinois, you better pray super hard that your condom never breaks — or that something even worse transpires — because a state appeals court recently upheld a ruling that exempted pharmacists with religious objections from prescribing emergency contraceptives. Let's hope your friendly local Walgreens pharmacist isn't a fervent churchgoer!
The plaintiffs, two pharmacists and three corporations that own and operate pharmacies, had challenged an order by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich that ordered all of the state's pharmacists to dispense Plan B regardless of whether they thought the morning-after pill was unholy. Disappointingly, the court wasn't impressed with the ACLU's argument that emergency contraceptives qualify as "emergency medical care" (if they did, they'd fall under an exception in the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience), even though doctors testified in court that Plan B is most effective the sooner you take it after unprotected sex. Since the pill, when used correctly, stops you from getting pregnant, it's more similar to a condom than an abortion. Should we allow pharmacists to refuse to sell customers condoms if they think that's what Jesus would do?
The panel was gracious enough (sarcasm, if that's unclear) to alter the lower court's ruling, which had blocked the former governor's original requirement to provide emergency contraceptives completely; instead, only plaintiffs who claim a religious exemption are allowed to deny Plan B to customers. But tell that to the next Illinois woman who tries to get a hold of Plan B after a traumatic sexual incident and walks out of the pharmacy empty handed and slut-shamed instead.