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Paul Caprio, Executive Director, Family-Pac, Responsds to Illinois Govs Pharmacy Mandates

 

4/14/2005 8:17:00 PM - FAMILY-PAC

 

Hon. Rod Blagojevich, Office of the Governor,

 

Dear Governor Blagojevich:

 

I am in receipt of your letter of April 11, 2005. Your letter, unfortunately, totally ignores the most fundamental point of this controversy…the fact that the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act (745 ILCS 70) gives pharmacists as “health care personnel” the right to exercise their right of conscience in refusing to issue prescriptions for abortifacients and contraceptives. The law states in part:

 

745 ILCS 70/2

 

It is the public policy of the State of Illinois to respect and protect the right of conscience of all persons who refuse to obtain, receive, or accept, or who are engaged in, the delivery of, arrangement for or payment of health care services and medical care whether acting individually, corporately, or in association with other persons; and to prohibit all forms of discrimination, disqualification, coercion, disability or imposition of liability upon such persons or entities by reason of their refusing to act contrary to their conscience or conscientious convictions in refusing to obtain, receive, accept, deliver, pay for, or arrange for the payment of health care services and medical care.

 

You obviously disagree with the Health Care Right of Conscience Act, which clearly includes pharmacists. We believe therefore, that your Constitutional options as Governor were: 1) to seek to change or amend the law, which has been in effect for seven years, by sponsoring new legislation or 2) by having the constitutionality of the law challenged in court. You did neither.

 

The right of conscience is fundamental to the right of freedom of religious expression as guaranteed in both the U.S. and Illinois Constitution…the very reason that so many millions of immigrants have come to America from all over the world.

 

Furthermore, you should be aware of the fact that there are pharmacists who practice in Illinois only because our State has a Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

 

Finally, although I welcome your correspondence, I want you to know that your recent letter will in no way “chill” my or Family-Pac’s 1st Amendment rights to publicly disagree with what we believe to be the illegality of your action in this matter.

 

We urge you to suspend your April 1st Emergency Order immediately until there has been appropriate and final judicial review of the matter.

 

As you know, Family-Pac has attempted to work with you constructively in the past on matters where we share mutual concerns. We will certainly continue to do so in the future when we believe that your actions and policies are in the best interests of Illinois families.

 

Respectfully, Paul Caprio, Executive Director, Family-Pac

 

cc: Hon. Frank Watson, Hon. Emil Jones, Hon. Michael Madigan, Hon. Tom Cross, John Mauck, Attorney at Law
 

 

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