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Gregoire opposes potential rules allowing Plan B denials

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 16, 2010 at 11:48 am |
July 16, 2010 11:50 am

Gov. Chris Gregoire says she opposes a regulation in the works allowing pharmacies to refuse to fill prescriptions, including Plan B emergency contraception.

The state Board of Pharmacy has signaled it plans to write such a policy, reversing an earlier rule supported by Gregoire that barred pharmacies from refusing to dispense legal drugs out of moral objections.

That restriction sparked a lawsuit by socially conservative pharmacists to keep the right to refuse women who want Plan B, a dispute the new rule would settle.

Gregoire said in a statement the board is wrong to open a new rulemaking process, saying the 2007 rule should stand. She said:

I am concerned that the Board appears to have a predetermined outcome in the new rulemaking process. I will not support a position that does not provide the same level of access, or better, than is currently offered. We cannot restrict access for patients. In rural parts of our state, eliminating access to medication could force people to drive miles to the next closest pharmacy, or simply force them to go without.

The stance also puts Gregoire at odds once again with Attorney General Rob McKenna‘s office, whose lawyers negotiated a pause in the pharmacists’ lawsuit on behalf of the board.

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