A Walgreens pharmacist refused to give a woman her prescription because of “ethical beliefs”
Today in truly repulsive news, a Walgreens pharmacist wouldn’t give a woman her prescription to end a pregnancy. Her Facebook post about the incident is heartbreaking, and has quickly drummed up a whole lot of internet outrage.
Nicole Arteaga recently found out that her pregnancy was going to result in a miscarriage. Her doctor told her that the baby had stopped growing and didn’t have a heartbeat. So, she went to her local Walgreens in Arizona, prescription in hand, to purchase Misoprostol, a medication that causes a medical abortion.
“I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7 year old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs,” Arteaga wrote in a Facebook post. “I get it we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted.”
Arteaga said that she left Walgreens empty handed and mortified.
“He has no idea what its like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so,” she wrote. “If you have gone through a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional rollercoaster it can be.”
Then, Arteaga decided to take action. She made her story public, and reached out to Walgreens about their pharmacist’s actions.
“I had a difficult time getting to sleep with all these thoughts going through my mind about how a person could control or have control over something that I needed for my well being,” she told Buzzfeed News. “After waking up in the morning I realized that this is something that is not OK, and that I wanted people to know.”
Her post has since been shared more than 25,000 times and pulled in 10,000 comments and counting. Most people were deeply outraged by what Arteaga went through.
Arteaga got in contact with the store’s manager who “did not seem happy” about what happened. She also got in touch with Walgreens’ corporate office and filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy. 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.
The store defended itself on Twitter, saying that pharmacists can “step away” from filling a prescription if they have a “moral objection.”
“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,” they noted.
Our policy allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection. 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.— Walgreens (@Walgreens) June 24, 2018
Well, it doesn’t sound like this pharmacist did any of the above. Instead, he humiliated a customer who was in a deeply vulnerable position. Also, if you’re uncomfortable giving out certain medications then maybe you should reconsider your job as a pharmacist.
“I left Walgreens in tears,” Arteaga wrote. “Ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor.