Arizona resident Nicole Arteaga said she was “left in tears” and “humiliated” after a Walgreens pharmacist refused to fill a prescription that would terminate a pregnancy her doctor said would end in miscarriage.
Arteaga wrote in Facebook and Instagram posts that her doctor told her the two-month-old fetus she was carrying had developmental abnormalities which would result in a miscarriage, and she was given the choice of ending the pregnancy through surgery (D&C) or prescription medication. She chose the medication.
When Arteaga went to pick up the prescription from her local Walgreens, the pharmacist asked her if she was pregnant, and when she said she was, he refused to sell her the medication.
“He has no idea what it’s like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be. I left Walgreens in tears, 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.
“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.
“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. This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what it’s like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so.”
Walgreens said in a statement that their current policy allows its pharmacists to “step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection”.
In that situation, staff are required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager “to meet the patient’s needs in a timely manner.”
The pharmacy said they had “reached out to the patient and apologized for how the situation was handled”.
She told the BBC that never happened. She said she called her doctor after her prescription was sent to a different Walgreens and asked for help to ensure she would be able to pick it up without a hassle.
She was finally able to purchase her prescription when it was sent to another Walgreens branch, after seeking her doctors help to ensure staff there would give to it her.