Pharmacist denies woman miscarriage drug on moral grounds

Adjust Comment Print

Her unborn baby had stopped growing and had no fetal heartbeat.

An Arizona woman has said she was left "in tears and humiliated" after a staff member at USA pharmacy chain Walgreens refused to give her prescription medication to end her pregnancy - even though her doctor had said she would ultimately have a miscarriage.

Instead, Arteaga was turned away, without the medicine she needed.

However when she visited a local branch of Walgreens, she was asked by the pharmacist whether she was pregnant.

"It's not something that I want my body to do".

"I completely lost it and was in tears".

Her doctor gave her two options: have a surgery, or have get a prescription for the medication and take it at home.

"I have to take this medication because it is an undeveloping fetus inside of me and he still refused, standing there silent and looking at me".

"I left Walgreens in tears", Arteaga wrote. "This is not how I wanted my pregnancy to go, but this is my situation".

An already hard reality soon took another complicated turn when the pharmacist refused to fill the order from her doctor.

But, Arteaga said the corporate statement wasn't entirely true.

"A pharmacy, hospital or health professional, or any employee of a pharmacy, hospital or health professional, who states in writing an objection to abortion, abortion medication, emergency contraception or any medication or device meant to inhibit or prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum on moral or religious grounds is not required to facilitate or participate in the provision of an abortion, abortion medication, emergency contraception or any medication or device meant to inhibit or prevent implantation of a fertilized ovum".

She went with the medication. "I can't give you this one, '" Arteaga said.

She tried to explain her situation but he remained unmoved.

"It doesn't make sense and it definitely is not fair in any way", she said.

"I couldn't believe what he was telling me", Arteaga said.

"He wasn't compassionate about it", J.R. Arteaga said.

Arteaga later learned the pharmacist had sent her prescription to another Walgreens. She was able to pick up the medication from that Walgreens without problems.

Walgreens company policy, according to Fox 10, allows pharamacists to reject prescription requests if they have moral objections, but they're still required to refer the prescriptions to other pharmacists or managers on duty. At the same time, they are also required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient's needs in a timely manner. "We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients" needs are handled properly'.

"After learning what happened, we reached out to the patient and apologized for how the situation was handled".

The store's Facebook page has been inundated with complaints following Ms Arteaga's claims.

The manager did not offer an apology at the time, she said.

Kelli Garcia, director of reproductive justice initiatives and senior counsel at the National Women's Law Center, told BuzzFeed News that Arizona is one of six US states where pharmacists can refuse to serve customers on religious or ethical grounds.

But, according to the National Women's Law Center, the pharmacist was within his rights. Unfortunately, it turns out that it's legal in Arizona for pharmacists to deny filling a prescription if it goes against their religious or moral beliefs.

Her Facebook post about her situation has gone viral, with over 26,000 shares since Sunday.

"I had a friend who reached out and told me not to be ashamed or embarrassed".

"My son, seeing me get so upset and he's trying to figure out why are you crying, once I couldn't hold it in anymore", she said.

"How profoundly terrible", one woman wrote.

She said the reactions validated her beliefs that she had been wronged.

"This post isn't something I generally do, but last night I experienced something no women should ever have to go thru especially under these circumstances", she wrote on Friday.

Arteaga says she wants her "humiliating" experience to help other pharmacists better understand the effect of their actions.