Opponents of the rule argued that the state guidelines discriminate against religious pharmacists who don't approve of emergency contraception by singling out their beliefs and targeting them. The state's appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Department of Health says, will make the case that the rules do not single out religious pharmacists, rather they are a widely applicable rules "to ensure all Washington residents have timely access to the medications they need when they need them."
Governor Gregoire seconded the DOH appeal with a political statement:
My position has always been clear: patients should be provided with lawful and lawfully prescribed medications in a timely manner. Some time sensitive medications become less effective with each passing hour, so I am especially concerned about those living in rural areas who have few options and could suffer lengthy delays in receiving medication.
Any decision that puts patients at risk by delaying or denying them lawful and lawfully prescribed medications should be carefully reviewed by a higher court. I fully support the decision to appeal the lower court ruling.
The attorney general's office is listed as a contact on the DOH press release, but issued no statement. They defended the rule in federal court, but I'm interested to hear AG McKenna's take on the emergency contraception controversy. I have a call in. McKenna has not issued any statements as AG the case has moved through the courts.
McKenna's Democratic rival in the 2012 governor's race, former US Rep. Jay Inslee, has made a issue out of the case earlier this week.