The bottom line
The foundation for the Ninth Circuit’s ruling comes from the regulation’s neutrality. The court explained that the rule applies to all equally and does not target any specific religious beliefs. Due to the neutrality of the regulation, the state need only show a rational reason for implementing the rule.
Katherine Waggoner, the plaintiff’s attorney, working with the Alliance Defending Freedom, stated that her clients plan to appeal. She asserted that “the constitution clearly says that the government can’t punish people for their religious beliefs, which is what is happening here.”
Other counsel for the plaintiffs mirrored Waggoner’s sentiment, stating that “the government has no business punishing citizens solely because of their religious beliefs,” and as “the pharmacists in this case willingly refer patients to over 30 pharmacies that stock the morning-after pill within a five-mile radius, no patient has ever been denied timely access.”
The Ninth Circuit panel rejected the plaintiff’s arguments, stating, “the rules are rationally related to Washington’s legitimate interest in ensuring that its citizens have safe and timely access to their lawful and lawfully prescribed medications.”