Intrauterine Device
Credit: Media for Medical/Getty Images

In disturbing Monday morning news, a Walgreens pharmacist refused to prescribe an IUD-related medication to a paying customer in Albuquerque, New Mexico, because it went against his “personal beliefs.” Hmmm…

In case you’re unfamiliar, an IUD is a Intrauterine Device — aka, a tiny device that is inserted in your uterus — that prevents pregnancy and helps to alleviate severe menstrual symptoms like cramping and mood instability. It also means you never have to worry about forgetting to take a daily birth control pill.

In this particular case, a mother went to her local Walgreens in order to get three prescriptions filled for her 13-year-old daughter, who suffered from intense menstrual cramps and menstruation-related health issues. The prescriptions entailed a pain reliever, an anxiety medication, and the hormone misoprostol, which “softens the cervix to make IUD insertion easier” (she would soon be getting an IUD to help alleviate her menstrual issues).

It was at this point that the male pharmacist said he would not fill the prescription for misoprostol because it went against his personal beliefs. When the mother said that “he was discriminating against me, that he should be ashamed for judging us, that he didn’t know my daughter’s medical history or her complications or conversation with her doctor. That he didn’t know what the medication was for,” he simply responded with, “Oh, I have a pretty good idea.” (Misoprostol is also used for medically-induced abortions, which could be what the pharmacist was referring to).

The mom has since filed two claims against the pharmacy —one with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and another with the Southwest Women’s Law Center. For its part, Walgreens has noted that they do have a policy which allows pharmacists to step away from a transaction that makes them personally uncomfortable — but they must then redirect the customer to another employee so that the customer is taken care of.

Here here! One’s personal beliefs should not mean that others are denied doctor prescribed medical treatments. Nor should a pharmacist assume they know all the facts about a customer’s medical history (and again, even if they somehow did, it would not be grounds to refuse service).

We’re so sorry that this happened to this mother and daughter, and hope that Walgreens takes the necessary disciplionary action against this store employee.