(Cincinnati, OH) -- The American Center for Law and Justice, an international public interest law firm, said today it is disappointed with a decision thatâ€™s likely to delay the trial date in a lawsuit against Kmart on behalf of a pharmacist who was fired for refusing to dispense abortion producing drugs. The trial date of November 5th is likely to be postponed due to a decision by the federal court to permit Planned Parenthood to intervene in the case in support of Kmart.
â€œThis began back in 1996 and we were prepared to present our case in federal court next month,â€ said Francis J. Manion, Senior Counsel for the ACLJ who is suing Kmart on behalf of the pharmacist. â€œWhile the entry of Planned Parenthood is likely to delay the trial, weâ€™re confident that the rights of employees who oppose abortion will prevail. It is clear that no employee should be forced to chose between their livelihood and their conscience. We will prove that the firing of our client violated a state conscience law that protects persons who refuse to perform or participate in medical procedures that result in an abortion.â€
The U.S. District Court in Cincinnati yesterday granted Planned Parenthoodâ€™s motion to intervene in the case. Planned Parenthood also filed a motion for summary judgment â€“ asking the court to dismiss the case claiming that Ohioâ€™s conscience clause does not apply to the drugs that Karen Brauer refused to dispense.
The case began in 1996 when Kmart fired Karen Brauer, an Indiana pharmacist, after she refused to dispense a drug called Micronor. Micronor, a progestin-only contraceptive, works in a significant number of patients by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg. According to Brauer, this means Micronor and similar drugs, rather than preventing pregnancy; terminate a human life that has already begun. Brauer was fired from Kmartâ€™s Hamilton, Ohio store when she refused to sign an agreement that she would dispense all lawfully prescribed medications regardless of her feelings or beliefs. The ACLJ filed suit against Kmart in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in August 1999. In January 2001, the court refused to dismiss the suit at Kmartâ€™s request and ruled that Brauerâ€™s case could go forward under Ohioâ€™s conscience law.
Manion said the ACLJ would vigorously oppose the Planned Parenthood motion to dismiss the case. â€œWe intend to prove that the drugs Brauer refused to dispense, and all other so-called â€˜emergency contraceptives,â€™ work by ending the life of a distinct, separate human being. Karen Brauer and many other health professionals should have a right to choose not to dispense medication that ends a life.â€
Manion said the case is critical in helping to protect the rights of employees who hold religious beliefs. â€œThis case has enormous implications for the growing practice of chemical or drug-induced abortions. So-called â€˜emergency contraceptivesâ€™, â€˜morning-after pills,â€™ and RU-486 all work â€“ not by preventing pregnancy â€“ but by ending a human life already in existence.â€
The American Center for Law and Justice is an international public interest law firm focusing on constitutional issues, religious liberty work, and specializing in pro-life litigation.