A Walgreens pharmacist denied a woman legal medication to end her pregnancy because of his personal beliefs, and that’s not okay
Since Donald Trump was elected President, it’s been a whole lot harder to be a woman in this country; reproductive rights feel further away than ever. It’s also been harder to be a person of color, a queer person, an immigrant, or a trans person. It’s just hard to be. And so many bad things happen these days that, while maybe not a direct result of Trump, feel encouraged by the current administration.
Like what happened to Nicole Arteaga, a school teacher from Arizona. Recently, Arteaga was denied a legal medication by a Walgreens pharmacist. She detailed the experience in Facebook and Instagram posts that have since gone viral.
Arteaga told BuzzFeed News that when she was nine weeks pregnant, her doctor told her that her baby had stopped growing and didn’t have a heartbeat. Instead of ending the pregnancy with a surgical procedure, she opted for a medication, and her doctor prescribed her misoprostol. When Arteaga went to her neighborhood Walgreens to pick it up, the pharamacist asked if she was pregnant. And when she said yes, he refused to sell it to her.
"I asked him why he wouldn't sell it to me, and he said, it was his ethics," Arteaga told BuzzFeed News.
What happened to Arteaga is traumatic, humiliating, and infuriating. This is an attack on reproductive rights.
Women have been fighting for reproductive rights for ages. Arteaga was prescribed misoprostol because she would no longer be carrying a living, healthy baby to full term. What’s extra hurtful is that this pharmacist chose to deny her a pill she hardly wanted to take in the first place.
"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," Arteaga wrote on Facebook and Instagram. "This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what its 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."
In Arizona, it is legal for a pharmacist to refuse filling a prescription if it goes against against their religious or moral beliefs.
This is legal in six states in the U.S., yet it really feels like that should be changed immediately. Being denied a prescription that you need based on the beliefs of another person is unacceptable.
We’re with you, Nicole. We’re so sorry this happened, but we thank you for speaking up.