July 16, 2018

Arizona woman says Walgreens pharmacist denied her prescription to end pregnancy

26 June 2018, 09:00 | Silvia Roy

Woman 'humiliated' by Walgreens over drugs to end pregnancy

Walgreens pharmacist denied mother medication to end pregnancy because of his beliefs

Nicole Arteaga was looking forward to the birth of her second child. She said her doctor had been monitoring her pregnancy closely due to previous miscarriages.

The baby's development had stopped.

The day before, she learned her pregnancy would end in a miscarriage.

In Alabama, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas, pharmacists are allowed to refuse but may not obstruct access to the medication. The drug, Misoprostol, causes a woman's uterus to contract and allows the fetus to come out.

Arteaga said the pharmacist transferred her medication to a store across town.

Arteago said she left Walgreens without her prescription.

Arteaga walked into the Walgreens at Peoria and 91st avenues on Thursday with her 7-year-old son to grab dinner, choose a movie and pick up the medications prescribed by her doctor.

"He had it in his hand and refrained from giving it to me", Arteaga explained.

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"I completely lost it and was in tears".

"I couldn't believe what he was telling me", Arteaga said. "It's not something that I want my body to do". Borchelt said her group has heard of women being denied prescriptions in at least 26 states since 2000.

Arteaga was able to pick up the prescription at the other Walgreens with no problems.

The company said in a statement that it was "looking into the matter to ensure that our patients' needs are handled properly". It said that store policy allows a moral objection in order to respect "sincerely held beliefs".

Employees are required, however, to have another pharmacist or manager handle the prescription so that the patient's needs are met "in a timely manner".

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

Even when she tried to explain the delicate situation - that her unborn baby would not live - the pharmacist wasn't swayed, she recalled.

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

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The woman voiced her anguish on Facebook, and also left a negative review on the USA chain's Yelp page, with many people - particularly women - banding together to push to scrap the legislation.

Kam Gandhi, executive director at the board, said that the agency hasn't talked to Arteaga or the pharmacist yet, but will aim to do a full investigation before the board's next meeting in August, Gandhi said. ".Those guidelines were broken".

Ms Arteaga said she had also complained to Walgreen's corporate office.

In some USA states, it's actually legal for pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions. 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. Pharmacists aren't even legally obligated to refer customers to another pharmacy.

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.

Despite all the trouble, Arteaga said she was thankful for all the support she has received after sharing her story on social media.

"It was a hard situation". "I applaud this pharmacist and am glad Walgreens protects his conscience rights and wish more pharmacists would have the courage to stand for their convictions, especially if a life is at risk".

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