Pharmacist Who Refused to Fill Birth Control Prescription Loses Lawsuit

A federal judge in Wisconsin dimissed a lawsuit by pharmacist Neil Noesen, who claimed Wal-Mart violated his First Amendment rights for firing him for refusing to refer customers seeking birth control prescriptions to other pharmacists. US District Judge John Shabaz ruled that Wal-Mart had adequately accomdated Noesen’s self-proclaimed religious opposition to birth control by always having another pharmacist on duty with Noesen who could fill such prescriptions or answer questions about contraception. According to Shabaz’s opinion, however, Noesen, would not refer patients to other pharmacists; rather, he would leave them on hold indefinitely or not notify other pharmacists on duty when a customer was seeking birth control.

Noesen’s pharmacist license expired last week, and cannot be renwed until he provides proof of completion of an ethics course and pays back the cost of the disciplinary action taken against him by the Pharmacy Examining Board, over $20,000, according to the Associated Press.


Associated Press 6/2/06; US District Court decision 6/1/06

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