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Settlement proposed in Illinois emergency contraception lawsuit

[JURIST] Illinois pharmacists who morally object to dispensing Plan B, the "morning-after" pill, will be permitted to refuse to fill prescriptions for the drug but must work with another pharmacist by phone to dispense the contraceptive, under a settlement submitted to an Illinois legislative panel on Thursday. Pharmacists sued the state in 2005 after Governor Rod Blagojevich passed a rule [press release] requiring all pharmacists to dispense the pill despite moral objections. The proposed settlement only affects Illinois females under the age of 17, as the FDA in 2006 approved over-the-counter sales of Plan B [JURIST report] to customers 18 years and older. AP has more. From Springfield, Illinois, the State Journal-Register has local coverage.

In a separate lawsuit [JURIST report] for monetary damages brought by four pharmacists against Walgreens [corporate website], the pharmacists say they were illegally fired after refusing to sign a pledge to dispense Plan B. The pharmacists allege they are protected from dispensing the morning-after pill by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act [text], which they say protects health care providers from discrimination if they refuse to participate in health care services which are contrary to their beliefs. That suit is ongoing.

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