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Planned Parenthood Supports Measure, Taking Away One More Hurdle for Women to Access Basic Health Care, Prevent Unintended Pregnancies

CHICAGO — Women in Illinois can now rest assured that their contraceptive prescriptions will be filled at pharmacies through the state. Today the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules made permanent the ruling by Governor Blagojevich that pharmacies are required to fill patient prescriptions without delay.

"A woman is acting responsibly when she is accessing birth control. She, in consultation with her physician, is seeking health care services that will best serve her needs at this time in her life. For anyone to intrude or pass judgment on that decision is just plain wrong," said Steve Trombley, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area. "Governor Blagojevich was acting in the best interest of the women of Illinois when he passed the Emergency Rule and the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules as echoed that interest in ensuring that pharmacies provide access to needed basic health care. No excuses, no delay, just fill the prescription."

On February 23, 2005, a pharmacist at a Chicago Osco refused to fill a medical prescription for contraceptives for two of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area's (PP/CA) female patients. PP/CA registered a complaint about this specific incident with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. To educate women about the issue and urge them to take action, PP/CA also organized a protest of nearly a hundred advocates in front of the pharmacy. The rally drew attention to the issue of pharmacist refusals and sparked a public debate about the rights of women to receive basic health care in Illinois and around the country.

"When medical professionals write prescriptions for their patients, they are acting in their patients' best interests," stated Steve Trombley, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood/Chicago Area. "Everybody has a right to their own personal views. However, when a pharmacist puts on that white lab coat, that pharmacists personal views cannot intrude on the relationship between a woman and her doctor. A pharmacist must dispense prescriptions issued by health care providers otherwise the patients' health is unnecessarily put at risk."

Pharmacist refusals are not limited to Illinois or any particular location. Planned Parenthood has received reports from all across the nation of pharmacists refusing to fill women's contraceptive prescriptions. "Pharmacists are refusing to fill prescriptions in Wisconsin, Texas, New Hampshire and many other states, "said Steve Trombley. "If a woman and her doctor have already discussed the need for contraception, she should be able to walk in to any pharmacy in America and expect to have her prescription filled without unnecessary delays or discrimination. Women should never be denied basic health care services by pharmacists who choose to impose their own beliefs on others."

In Illinois, women who have been refused health care services at a pharmacy based on a pharmacist's personal objections can file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Patients can file online by using their complaint form at: www.idfpr.com.


Planned Parenthood Federation of America


Sara Knaub, Planned Parenthood Chicago Area
312.592.6841 (office)
773.485.2410 (cell)


May 12, 2014