- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Supreme Court refused Tuesday to hear the case of a privately owned pharmacy that was forced to sell abortion-inducing drugs over its religious objections.

The case, Stormans v. Wiesman, stems from a 2005 Washington state order forcing a family-owned pharmacy to provide Plan B prescriptions, known as the “morning-after pill,” that can induce abortions.

The refusal came over the protests of Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, who dissented from the decision not to take the case. Four justices must agree to hear a case before it is brought before the Supreme Court.

Writing for the dissenters, Justice Alito called the decision an “ominous sign” for the state of religious liberty in America.

“If this is a sign of how religious liberty claims will be treated in the years ahead, those who value religious freedom have cause for great concern,” Justice Alito wrote.

The pharmacists proposed an accommodation in which they would refer customers to one of more than 30 pharmacies within a five-mile radius in order to fill their abortifacient prescriptions.

But the state rejected that compromise, saying their law guarantees women’s access to reproductive health care. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit agreed with the state, saying the regulations do not violate the First Amendment.

The case is similar to one that was just brought before the Supreme Court, in which dozens of Catholic nonprofit organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, challenged Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate on religious liberty grounds.

The Court punted on those cases, vacating the judgments and sending them back to the courts of appeals.

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