Missouri Family E-News

July 19, 2016

                           
SCOTUS
Refuses to Provide Relief to Christian Pharmacist


The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling forcing pharmacy owners to dispense abortifacient drugs in violation of their conscience.

The High Court let stand a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld an anti-religious pharmacy regulation of the State of Washington.  

That regulation states that a pharmacy may not "refuse to deliver a drug or device to a patient because its owner objects to delivery on religious, moral, or other personal grounds."

The net effect of the regulation is to require that a pharmacy stock and supply any drug a consumer desires, regardless of the harm it may cause.

This long-running legal controversy centers around a drug store in Olympia, Washington known as Ralph's Thriftway.  The pharmacy is owned by the Stormans family, who hold strong pro-life convictions.

The Stormans declined to stock Plan B and Ella, drugs which are often described as "emergency contraception" or "morning-after pills."  However, the drugs have abortifacient qualities, namely the capability to destroy a developing embryo in the womb.

When customers requested either Ella or Plan B, employees at Ralph's Thriftway referred them to 30 other pharmacies within a five-mile radius that have those drugs in stock.

But that wasn't good enough for the bureaucratic tyrants at the Washington State Pharmacy Commission.  They revised state pharmacy regulations to eliminate the right of a pharmacy owner to object to dispensing of a drug on the grounds of conscience.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito strongly disagreed with his colleagues' decision not to hear the case on appeal.  He said that Washington State Government had given the Stormans unacceptable alternatives:  "Violate your sincerely held religious beliefs or get out of the pharmacy business."

"There is much evidence that the impetus for the adoption of the regulations was hostility to pharmacists whose religious beliefs regarding abortion and contraception are out step with prevailing opinion in the state," Alito wrote.

"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," Alito concluded.

Greg Stormans, one of the owners of Ralph's Thriftway, says noone has produced evidence that any pharmacy customer has been deprived of timely access to any drug because of a religious objection.

"Our company revolves around faith, family, and community.  We serve every customer that comes to our pharmacy, but where we draw the line in the sand is we will not sell any drug that takes a human life, and we will not sell any drug that results in an abortion."

The American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) expressed concern that the case may set a precedent that would lead to denial of conscience rights to doctors and other licensed medical professionals.

"This Court has set the stage for unfettered State coercion.  The court has given the green light to States who want to force health care workers to participate in the killing of another human being,"  AAPLOG said in a statement.

The Missouri Legislature enacted a law in 2013 which protected the conscience rights of pharmacy owners in our state.  The law stipulates that no pharmacy can be required to have any specific drug or device in its inventory.  The legislation was sponsored by Senator David Sater, who has had a career as a pharmacist in southwest Missouri.    
  

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States Seek Reversal
of Crude Federal
Bathroom Mandate

Nearly half of the states in the Union have initiated legal challenges to the public school bathroom mandate issued by the Obama Administration.  A total of 23 states have now pursued litigation in federal court against the mandate, which requires that public schools must allow any student access to the bathrooms, locker rooms, and shower rooms of the opposite sex.

The latest lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Nebraska earlier this month, and initiated by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.  Missouri's neighboring states of Kansas and Arkansas joined Nebraska and seven other states in seeking to invalidate the bathroom edict.  The first state to challenge the mandate in federal court was the State of Texas, and twelve other states have since joined in that separate litigation.

"The recent action by the federal government to require showers, locker rooms, and bathrooms to be open to both sexes based solely on a student's choice circumvents the established law," says Attorney General Peterson.  "This action strips local school districts of the authority to address student issues on an individualized, professional, and private basis."

The legal frenzy over school bathrooms was spurred by an announcement made in May by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  The Attorney General used a press conference to declare that the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education were issuing a joint directive governing bathroom access in the nation's public schools.

Under that edict, schools must allow students to use private facilities based on their self-professed "gender identity," or forfeit the loss of federal education funding.  Attorney General Lynch proclaimed that schools may not adopt "broad generalizations or stereotypes" with regard to a student's actual gender, and that "an individual's sex consists of multiple factors, which may not always be in alignment."

Lynch claimed that Title IX of the Federal Education Act demands that students be granted access to whatever bathroom, locker room, or shower facility they desire.  This is an unequivocally false statement.  Title IX and its regulations specifically authorize schools to provide separate facilities based on a student's biological sex.
The lawless actions by Lynch came on the heels of similar renegade action by the U.S. Civil Rights Commission,  which threatened to haul school districts into court who fail to provide unisex bathrooms.

Kellie Fiedorek, legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, applauded the vigorous collective effort of state attorneys general to preserve student's bathroom privacy.  "The Obama Administration cannot unilaterally redefine federal law to serve its own political ends.  The Administration has exceeded its authority in threatening schools that choose to protect children's privacy."

"The federal government should not be able to force students to shower and undress in the same locker rooms with students of the opposite sex, or to share rooms on overnight trips," Fiedorek explained.  "We commend the growing number of states across the country who are exercising common sense and defending the privacy and safety of children."

Missouri is not among the states which have chosen to directly challenge the Obama Administration's illegal blackmail.  Instead, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has decided to take a less forceful approach to voice the state's opposition to federal intrusion into local school district affairs.

Koster announced last month that his office would file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a school district in Virginia that is challenging the bathroom mandate in federal court.  In April a three-judge panel of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that students in the Gloucester County School District are legally entitled to access the restrooms, changing rooms, and shower facilities that are "congruent" with their imaginary "gender identity."

The school board in Gloucester County is now appealing the 4th Circuit decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Koster said that the amicus brief would assert that local school districts should have the ability to form "lawful policy on this issue."  Koster stated that it was wrong for President Obama to dictate a national mandate on the subject, and that he believes Missouri school districts "are capable of treating all students with dignity and respect while addressing privacy concerns."
A recent public opinion poll makes it clear that the vast majority of Americans strongly oppose the Obama Administration's action which allows any boy to invade the restrooms, locker rooms, and showers of female students.  A nationwide survey showed that two-thirds of the public oppose "government forcing schools and businesses to open bathrooms and locker rooms designated for women and girls to biological males, and vice versa."

66% of those surveyed by WPA Opinion Research rejected the federal bathroom mandate, with 52% of those polled expressing strong disapproval.  Only 28% of those questioned supported unrestricted access to any public bathroom.  The concept of open bathrooms was overwhelmingly opposed by both men and women, and by individuals in every age category.

Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council, derided President Obama for trampling upon the boundaries of his constitutional powers.  "The President has ignored the repeatedly expressed concerns of parents and school officials over the privacy and safety of students.  If the White House can dictate the policies for every school locker room, shower, and bathroom in America, what could possibly be beyond his reach?"

But President Obama is not giving up on his crusade to neuter American society and its institutions.   The U.S. Justice Department has refiled a lawsuit asking a federal court to strike down a North Carolina law prohibiting individuals from using the "restrooms or intimate accommodations of the opposite sex."

In their latest court filing,  the Administration's lawyers make the incredible argument that defining sex based "exclusively on anatomy" is "medically inaccurate."  The Obama Administration contends that there is no legal basis "for privileging anatomy as the sole basis for determining sex."

The Missouri State Board of Education has yet to take a position on the bathroom edict, and local school districts are making individual judgments about whether to comply with or defy the mandate.  We encourage you to contact your local school board members and school superintendents and principals, and encourage them to protect the privacy and safety of our children and grandchildren.

Joe's Signature

 

Missouri Family Policy Council, 1430 Triad Center Dr., Ste. B, St. Peters, MO 63376
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