The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a case in June about Ralph’s Thrifty, a Christian-owned grocery store and pharmacy in Olympia, Washington, that reportedly refuses to sell the emergency contraception medications Plan B and Ella (video below).
This refusal by the Storman family, which owns Ralph’s Thrifty, violated a Washington state law that mandates drug stores must sell "all lawfully prescribed drugs or devices" to the public, notes The Daily Signal, a website run by the conservative Heritage Foundation.
The Stormans reportedly oppose selling Plan B (morning-after pill) and Ella (week-after pill) because they believe the drugs cause abortions.
The Stormans' case goes back to February 2012 when a federal court shot down the Washington state law, but in July 2015 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling. When the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case in June 2016, the ruling by the appeals court stood.
Greg Storman, one of the co-owners of the pharmacy, told The Daily Signal in an interview:
Well, first of all, we serve every customer that comes to our pharmacy, but where we draw the line in the sand is that we will not sell any drug which takes a human life. We will not sell any drug which results in an abortion and that's where we had to part ways.
We initially were asked by a customer whether we sold this medication and we found out, after talking with the pharmacy, that we did not. And after that period of time, we had a number of people approach us and ask us about the medication.
And after doing some research, it was clear to us that Plan B and Ella did terminate a pregnancy. We were not going to sell it and based on our religious convictions that, now we've been fighting for for ten years, we are not going to engage in the stocking or the dispensing of that drug.
Storman did not cite the specific "research" that said Plan B and Ella cause abortions.
The Scientific American noted in 2014 that Plan B works to stop the egg from meeting the sperm and resulting in fertilization, which is not an abortion.
"We have a very high level of certainty that Plan B only works before ovulation," Kelly Cleland, a researcher at Princeton University, said.
Ella had not been studied as closely at the time because it had recently come out, but Jeanne Conry, past president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), said that Ella "is just a variation on the theme for the IUD."
"With the IUD, the primary mechanism impacts ovulation and sperm behavior," Conry said.
An IUD may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus, which is the time science generally accepts as the beginning of a pregnancy.
Many fertilized eggs never successfully implant into the lining of the uterus without any assistance from medication.