Walgreens pharmacist denies pregnant woman miscarriage medication over moral beliefs

Walgreens pharmacist denies pregnant woman miscarriage medication over moral beliefs

An Arizona woman has said she was left "in tears and humiliated" after a staff member at U.S. 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.

The woman, who the Arizona Republic identified as Nicole Arteaga, described in a viral Facebook post how she was publicly humiliated when attempting to fill the prescription to end her pregnancy - a pregnancy she wanted, but needed to terminate because she would ultimately miscarry.

The pharmacist had asked the mom if she was pregnant, BuzzFeed reported, and when she said yes, he would not sell the meds to her.

Walgreens has apologised to Ms Arteaga but confirmed the company's policy did allow staff to morally object to filling out prescriptions.

Arteaga opted for the medication, but she says when she went to Walgreens Thursday to pick up the prescription misoprostol, the pharmacist wouldn't fill the order because it was against his beliefs.

Ms Arteaga later said she filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy and picked up her prescription from another Walgreens pharmacy.

Arteaga told the BBC that did not happen when she visited the store, as the pharmacist "could have just passed me on to the lady that was standing next to him" - which she says did not happen. She left in tears without her medication.

"I get it, we all have our beliefs".

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

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

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

In a statement quoted by CNN, Walgreens said they were investigating the incident "to ensure our patients' needs are handled properly". According to her, there were two other employees in the pharmacy at the time - both of whom were assisting other customers.

Arizona is one of six states that allows pharmacies or pharmacists to refuse filling prescriptions on religious or moral grounds, according to the National Women's Law Center.

Arizona state Senator John Kavanagh, a Republican who co-sponsored the 2009 law that includes the refusal clause, told Bloomberg Tuesday he was surprised that Arteaga wasn't more sympathetic with the pharmacist.

"I don't have control over my body and I don't have control of the situation", Arteaga said. "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". "What we forget about, back to Roe v. Wade in 1973, a woman has a right to choose how she controls her body and her reproductive health care, but what becomes abundantly clear is if you have a private company, this is not governmental action, and a private company does not have the same rules as the government, and the private company can set its own rules if it wants".

"I honestly hope that a pharmacist who is indecisive in the same situation (will) think how their personal choices to deny people medication can be more impactful than they may think or be able to see", she said.

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

Arizona is one of six U.S. states with a "conscience clause" law that allows health care providers to refrain from assisting in abortion, abortion medication or emergency contraception.

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