Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

Walgreens pharmacist cites ethical beliefs, denies Arizona woman’s prescription to end pregnancy

A Peoria woman is going public after she says a Walgreens pharmacist denied her a medication to end a pregnancy A Peoria woman is going public after she says a Walgreens pharmacist denied her a medication to end a pregnancy
Melissa Porter | 26 June, 2018, 21:31

A woman said she was left "ashamed" and "humiliated" when a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill her prescription for medicine to induce a miscarriage because it went against his personal beliefs.

The doctor gave Arteaga three options: undergo a medical procedure to remove the lifeless fetus, wait for nature to take its course or take prescription medication to help her body let go of the deceased unborn baby. Last week, Arteaga's doctor told her that her baby had stopped developing and she would ultimately miscarry.

"I get it we all have our beliefs", Arteaga wrote in her Facebook post, which also included a photo of the pharmacist's business card. "I want everything to be healthy and I can't control that". "I couldn't control the fact that my body wasn't going to support this pregnancy, and I wanted this baby". She said the pharmacist had "no idea what it's like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so".

Arteaga said she left Walgreens in tears. "I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering". How is this okay? On Thursday evening, she and her son picked up some photos from the drugstore and then headed to the pharmacy for her medication, she said.

Mone says she has contacted the store manager, the Walgreens corporate office and has filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.

The pharmacy counter stands inside a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. store in Elmwood Park, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.

The pharmacist said he wouldn't give her the pills because of his ethical beliefs, Arteaga said.

In 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to a Washington state law that made it illegal for pharmacies to refuse to dispense medications based on religious grounds.

The company told WTSP in a statement that in a situation where that happens the pharmacist is supposed to refer the person to another pharmacist on duty. As Jezebel points out, the company tweeted that its employees are allowed to opt out of filling prescriptions, but must refer them to another pharmacist or manager-something that didn't happen in Arteaga's case.

The company told the Associated Press today that the pharmacist in question was the only one on duty at the time, so he called another location to serve the patient.

"We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients' needs are handled properly", the statement said.

In an update to her post, Arteaga said she later received an email notification that her prescription was ready at a different Walgreens location.

"Having a miscarriage and having to deal with this is like a double dose of terribleness", she said. "I haven't been able to read all of them".

On Twitter, a user asked Walgreens Saturday: "What is your policy regarding dispensing prescribed medication?"

It turns out Arizona is one of just a handful of states that allow doctors and pharmacists to refuse participation in abortions or emergency contraception if it goes against their moral or religious beliefs.

Gretchen Borchelt, the vice president of reproductive rights and health for the National Women's Law Center, said it's unclear how many women are affecting by such laws because few may come forward like Arteaga did.