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An Illinois appellate court has ruled in favor of 2 pharmacists who objected to providing emergency contraception because they said it infringed upon their religious beliefs.

A lawsuit by Luke Vander Bleek and Glenn Kosirog challenged a 2005 executive order by then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich requiring all pharmacists to fill prescriptions for the so-called morning-after pill.

They argued they were protected by the Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act. That law says health professionals cannot be punished if they refuse to offer a service because of their conscientious convictions.

Friday's ruling applies only to the two pharmacists. But their lawyer, Francis Manion, says the precedent means the state cannot go after other pharmacists who similarly refuse to provide the pill.

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