Published: Tue, June 26, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

Woman says Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill prescription to end her pregnancy

Woman says Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill prescription to end her pregnancy

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. The Arizona woman had three options: Let the fetus come out naturally, endure a procedure at a hospital or take a pill to induce the process. She chose the latter.

"I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old, and five customers behind only to be denied because of his ethic [al] beliefs", Arteaga wrote in a Facebook post describing the incident that has now been shared more than 34,000 times.

"I understand we all have our beliefs, but this isn't something I believe in", Arteaga continued.

Nicole Arteaga revealed on Facebook she found out she was pregnant about two months ago and was desperate to have the child.

Her prescription was transferred to another Walgreens location across town, according to Mone.

Walgreens noted on Twitter that it allows pharmacists to "step away" from filling prescriptions to which they have a "moral objection", but they must refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty. "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".

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

Though the stores' employees are allowed to opt out of fulfilling prescriptions that they have a moral objection to, they are required to hand the order off to someone else to fill, the company said in a statement obtained by HuffPost.

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".

Arteaga said the he did not explain any further.

Arizona State Board of Pharmacy executive director Kam Gandhi said the agency hasn't spoken to Ms Arteaga or the pharmacist yet, but will aim to do a full investigation.

"Having a miscarriage and having to deal with this is like a double dose of terribleness", she said.

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"It's not OK to do that to someone", she told Arizona Central.

Arteaga also said she had contacted Walgreens' corporate office.

The laws governing pharmacies vary from state to state. She also left a one-star review on the Walgreen location's Yelp page. She said she collected it after first revisiting her doctor to ensure he could help her fill the script.

"[He] asks me if I'm pregnant, which I say 'yes, ' and he tells me, 'I'm not giving you this one". According to her, Walgreens didn't reach out to her. Arteaga said she reached out to them.

"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 or any other circumstances. I couldn't control what my body was doing and now here I am trying to make my decision and what I'm going to do, and this person was taking that away from me and making that choice for me".

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