An Albuquerque, New Mexico Walgreens is under scrutiny after a pharmacist denied filling a birth control prescription. In 2016, a mother tried to pick up a prescription of Misoprostol for her teen daughter, according to KRQE. Misoprostol is a drug used to prepare patients for getting an IUD, a form of birth control. But the pharmacist on duty denied the prescription, stating personal beliefs.
The incident has resulted in the ACLU filing a complaint against Walgreens. On June 2, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and Southwest Women’s Law Center filed two complaints on behalf of the teenager and her mother, according to the Huffington Post. The complaints state that the pharmacist’s refusal to fill the prescription constitutes sex discrimination.
“None of us should have to worry when we go into a pharmacy that we might be turned away because of someone’s personal beliefs and not because of a medical reason,” said Erin Armstrong, an ACLU Reproductive Rights Attorney.
One of the ACLU complaints concludes that, “Refusing to serve a woman and forcing her to travel to an alternate pharmacy for her medication is discrimination, no matter how conveniently located the alternate pharmacy may be. In addition to the significant inconvenience of having to travel to another location, M.S. [the mother] and her daughter experienced the real and lasting emotional impact of being denied a service and turned away because of sex.”
That same complaint states, “As a New Mexico business, Walgreens is a public accommodation, and cannot refuse to provide its services to anyone on the basis of their sex.”
In a statement emailed to HuffPost, a spokesperson for Walgreens said it is the company’s policy to “allow pharmacists and other employees to step away from completing a transaction to which they may have a moral objection, and requires the pharmacist or other employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty to complete the customer’s request.”
The girl’s mother told the Albuquerque Journal that her daughter had been prescribed the IUD for difficult period symptoms.
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