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Washington state urges Supreme Court not to review emergency contraceptive case

By Mark Iandolo | Mar 9, 2016

SEATTLE (Legal Newsline) — Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson has asked the United States Supreme Court to decline a review of a state case involving pharmacies stocking timely medication that includes emergency contraceptives.

The case has a lengthy background. Stormans Inc., doing business as Ralph’s Thriftway, allegedly objected to dispensing the emergency contraceptives Plan B and ella as required by rules created by the Washington Board of Pharmacy.

Throughout the years, the case went through the legal process. A judge initially sided with the plaintiffs, alleging First Amendment violations. After a prolonged appeal, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reversed the ruling, stating that Washington’s rules were neutral and generally applicable.

The plaintiffs still believe the rules violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. They filed a petition for review with the high court.

“The appeals court decision keeps decisions regarding medical care, including reproductive rights, where they belong: between a patient and his or her medical professionals,” Ferguson said. “That unanimous ruling should stand.”

The U.S. Supreme Court will likely decide whether to hear the case by April.

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