Supreme Court rejects Olympia pharmacy on emergency contraception

VIDEO: Local pro-choice advocates celebrate victory

OLYMPIA, Wash. — For religious reasons, the owners of Ralph’s Thriftway in Olympia don't want to dispense emergency contraceptives that they believe cause abortions.


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Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider their challenge to Washington State’s rules.

We found mixed views among customers.

"As a business, to keep women from having access to something that's so important is ridiculous," said a woman who identified herself as Mel F.

Michaela Moreau had a different view: “Really sad that they expect him to go against his conscience and sell something he doesn't believe in.”

Nine years ago, reproductive rights advocates picketed the store after the state pharmacy board moved to make the store dispense the emergency contraceptive called Plan-B.

Janet Chung of Legal Voice worked on this case for nearly a decade.

“What this rule means is that pharmacies are required to dispense lawful medications to all patients, regardless of individual pharmacists’ beliefs to the contrary," Chung said.

But the state health department says pharmacies are not necessarily required to keep it in stock.

Pharmacy owner Kevin Stroman declined an interview Tuesday, but we were able to speak with his lawyer by phone.

“The state, I'm hoping, will enforce the regulations in a way that is fair, and tolerant and honors the people of Washington State,” said Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom.