An Arizona woman says that a Walgreens pharmacist refused to give her abortion-inducing medication, citing his personal beliefs. However, the woman’s fetus had already died and the medicine was intended to help her expel it. Still, the pharmacist refused to give her the medicine, and now the woman’s story is going viral.
As WTSP-TV reports, Nicole Arteaga, 35, got the worst news of her life last week: the fetus inside her womb had stopped growing and didn’t have a heartbeat and she would have a miscarriage. Her doctor gave her three options: either undergo a medical procedure to remove the fetus from her body; wait for her body to expel the fetus naturally; or take the abortifacient drug Misoprostol to force the miscarriage. She opted for the drug route.
However, when she went to her nearest Walgreens to pick it up, the pharmacist on duty refused to give her the medicine, saying that dispensing it violated his personal beliefs. What’s more, she said that this conversation took place in front of her 7-year-old son and other customers who were in the store that day.
“He had it in his hand and refrained from giving it to me… I was completely shocked. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”
Though there were other pharmacists and techs behind the counter that day, Arteaga says that the pharmacist on duty was not going to allow her to leave the building with her medicine, according to the Arizona Republic.
“I couldn’t believe what he was telling me. 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.”
Arteaga says that her husband went to the Walgreens to try to talk things out with the pharmacist, who remained steadfast. Instead, he (the pharmacist) sent her to another Walgreens, miles away. Arteaga was able to pick up her medicine there without any issues.
In a statement, Walgreens said that it’s company policy to allow a pharmacist to refuse to fill certain prescriptions — generally abortifacients and drugs that could induce abortion as a side-effect — if their personal beliefs prohibit dispensing the medication. But, company policy also dictates that such a pharmacist is expected to ask a manager or another pharmacist to fill the prescription instead, and to do so in a “timely manner.”
“We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients’ needs are handled properly.”
Arteaga has filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.