National Partnership for Women & Families

Refusal Provisions | In the News

Many states have or are considering laws that allow health providers to refuse to provide certain medical services that violate their moral or religious beliefs. Although these laws originally focused primarily on abortion and sterilization services, in recent years they have been expanding. States have passed laws to allow pharmacists to refuse to provide emergency contraception to women who need it, and current efforts have focused on allowing medical professionals to deny access to contraception and other medical care with which they disagree. These provisions put women’s health at risk, and are especially dangerous for women in rural areas or small towns where there are few medical providers or pharmacies.

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"A Win for Washingtonians, a Win for Patients' Rights," (Hanson, "Womenstake," National Women's Law Center, 7/27).

9th Circuit Court Affirms Washington Rules on Dispensing Emergency Contraception
On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a Washington state law requiring pharmacies to dispense all medicine, regardless of whether owners have religious objections, Reuters reports.

Mich. Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Restrictive Policy Directives at Catholic Hospitals
A federal judge in Michigan last week dismissed a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union alleging that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' directives for Catholic hospitals impede proper medical care for pregnant women, Michigan Live reports.

N.C. Senate Approves Mandatory Delay Extension, Sends Bill Back to State House
The North Carolina Senate on Monday voted 32-16 to approve a measure (HB 465) that would extend the state's mandatory delay before an abortion from 24 to 72 hours, the AP/Washington Times reports.

Abortion-Rights Advocates Rally Against Ala. Restrictions
About 100 abortion-rights advocates rallied in Montgomery, Ala., last week to speak out against three antiabortion-rights bills pending in the state Legislature, AP/Sacramento Bee reports.

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Refusal Provisions | In the Courts

This section provides a brief overview of significant cases impacting reproductive rights and health related to Refusal Provisions.

Stormans, Inc. v. Selecky
Federal court challenge to a Washington law that requires all pharmacies to carry and deliver prescription drugs, including emergency contraception.

Morr-Fitz, Inc. v. Quinn
State court challenge to an Illinois law brought in state court by anti-choice pharmacists that requires pharmacists to fill prescriptions for contraception.

Refusal Provisions | More Information

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