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Anderson v. Aitkin Pharmacy

Description:  A Minnesota pharmacist was sued because of his conscientious objection to dispensing a drug that can cause an abortion, an action that violates his religious beliefs.

A pharmacist dispensing pills
Wednesday, Dec 20, 2023

WHO:  Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys

WHAT:  Available for media interviews following oral arguments in Anderson v. Aitkin Pharmacy

WHEN:  Immediately following hearing, which begins at 10:05 a.m. CST, Thursday, Dec. 21

WHERE:  Minnesota Court of Appeals, 25 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Saint Paul, Courtroom 100, or view the livestream.

MINNEAPOLIS – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys will be available for media interviews following oral arguments Thursday at the Minnesota Court of Appeals in Anderson v. Aitkin Pharmacy. ADF attorneys are representing Minnesota pharmacist George Badeaux, who was sued because of his conscientious objection to dispensing a drug that can cause an abortion, an action that violates his religious beliefs.

A jury found that Badeaux did not discriminate based on sex when he abided by his sincere religious beliefs that life begins at conception. ADF attorneys filed a brief in August supporting his constitutional right to work in accordance with his faith.

“No one should be forced to violate his conscience in the workplace, and that includes dispensing drugs that can cause an abortion,” said ADF Senior Counsel Rory Gray, who will be arguing before the court. “Mr. Badeaux politely informed the customer that his personal beliefs precluded him from dispensing the drug, but he offered to help her get the drug from another pharmacist, which she would have been able to do at the same pharmacy. Mr. Badeaux is a Christian who believes that an embryo is a new human life and, as such, taking a drug that prevents an embryo from implantation in the uterus ends a human life. We are urging the court to affirm the jury’s verdict and trial court’s decision, which respected Mr. Badeaux’s constitutionally protected freedom to act consistent with his beliefs while at work.”

Badeaux was a pharmacist at Aitkin Pharmacy, where he was asked by a customer to dispense the drug ella. Because of his religious belief that life begins at conception, he notified the customer that he could not dispense the pill in good conscience and instead referred the request to another pharmacist, who was willing to fill the prescription. Despite Badeaux’s efforts to accommodate the customer—and her ability to get the drug the next day—the customer sued in an attempt to punish Badeaux’s conscientious objection.

Charles Shreffler, one of nearly 5,000 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, is serving as local counsel on behalf of Badeaux.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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ABOUT John Bursch

John Bursch is senior counsel and vice president of appellate advocacy with Alliance Defending Freedom. Bursch has argued 12 U.S. Supreme Court cases and more than 30 state supreme court cases since 2011, and a recent study concluded that among all frequent Supreme Court advocates who did not work for the federal government, he had the 3rd highest success rate for persuading justices to adopt his legal position. Bursch served as solicitor general for the state of Michigan from 2011-2013. He has argued multiple Michigan Supreme Court cases in eight of the last ten terms and has successfully litigated hundreds of matters nationwide, including six with at least $1 billion at stake. As part of his private firm, Bursch Law PLLC, he has represented Fortune 500 companies, foreign and domestic governments, top public officials, and industry associations in high-profile cases, primarily on appeal. He received his J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the University of Minnesota Law School and is admitted to practice in numerous federal district and appellate courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.

ABOUT Rory Gray

Rory Gray, Esq., serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, where he plays a strategic role on the Appellate Advocacy Team. Since joining ADF in 2011, Gray has worked diligently on key cases to preserve religious freedom and free speech in America. He has served as a member of the main litigation teams in Thomas More Law Center v. Bonta, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission,Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer,Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, and Reed v. Town of Gilbert. Additionally, Gray has written briefs at all levels of federal and state courts, including an amicus brief in Newdow v. Congress of the United States, in which the Second Circuit upheld the use of the national motto, “In God We Trust,” on U.S. currency. Gray earned his J.D. from Washington and Lee University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude in 2007. Before graduating, he completed the ADF leadership development program to become a Blackstone Fellow in 2005. After law school, Gray clerked for the Hon. Bobby R. Baldock on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit from 2007-2009 and for the Hon. G. Steven Agee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit from 2009-2011. A member of the state bars of Georgia, Arizona, and Virginia, Gray is also admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and various appellate and trial courts.