Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Noesen's case is kicked

District Judge John Shabaz has dismissed the suit of Donald Noesen, the pharmacist who refused to fill birth control prescriptions at Wal-Mart. Actually, the case wasn't about his refusal. Wal-Mart had told him that he needn't fill scrips for birth control or answer questions about them. What he got fired for is refusing to help those customers find another pharmacist or putting callers inquiring about birth control on hold indefinitely. Whil Wal-Mart had an obligation to reasonably accommodate Noesen's religious views, tolerating active obstruction of its customers (as opposed to a mere refusal to provide birth control) went too far.

Although I have supported freedom of conscience for health care officials, this decision seems about right under existing law. If Wal-Mart has a right to sell birth control (and it does), then its one thing to alllow Noesen to opt out. Its another if he actively sabotages the business.

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