Pharmacist Refuses To Give Woman Her Medication On Religious Grounds

Meijer said the employee accused of refusing to help the woman no longer works for the Michigan-based chain

Meijer said the employee accused of refusing to help the woman no longer works for the Michigan-based chain

A woman says a MI pharmacist refused to fill a prescription to help her complete a miscarriage, telling her it was against his religion.

Meijer spokeswoman Christina Fecher didn't say whether the pharmacist has been disciplined.

Rachel Peterson said she was denied prescribed medication to help with a miscarriage because the pharmacist said it was against his religious beliefs.

Peterson told him that her doctor found no signs of life in the fetus and he allegedly accused her of lying, according to the ACLU.

"When you're at one of the lowest moments in your life, you don't expect this sort of demeaning treatment", Peterson said in a statement.

They said the store recognizes "the right of a pharmacist to abstain from filling a prescription based on his or her religious beliefs, but the pharmacist is required to have another Meijer pharmacist fill the prescription or, if no other pharmacist is available at that time, to transfer the script to another pharmacy convenient to the customer".

According to the National Women's Law Center, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota have laws or regulations that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for religious or moral reasons. Peterson then had to leave her vacation in Petoskey and drive three hours away to a pharmacy in Ionia to get her medicine. She praised the employee that eventually helped her, but said the experience was traumatic.

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"The ACLU of MI is demanding Meijer implement a policy that ensures all pharmacy customers receive their medication without undue delay regardless of the personal beliefs of its pharmacists", the complaint says.

"This was a really traumatic, awful thing - and on probably one of the worst days, worst moments of her life", Merissa Kovach, a policy strategist with the ACLU of MI, told Fox News. "I knew there were people that opposed things like birth control and Plan B, but I didn't think I could get denied a prescription from my doctor", she continued.

The pharmacist "clearly discriminated against Ms. Peterson because she is a woman", the Michigan ACLU said in a complaint to Meijer executives. The organization's MI policy strategist, Merissa Kovach, said Peterson was "clearly a victim of sex discrimination", arguing that "had the customer been a man prescribed the same medication, that is also commonly used to treat ulcers, the pharmacist would have filled it".

Meijer is a privately-owned company with almost 250 supermarkets and 200 gas stations in the Midwest.

The ACLU says the actions of the pharmacist was discriminatory and violated Michigan's public accommodations laws. Seven states have policies that allow refusal but prohibit pharmacists from obstructing access to the medication. Eight states require pharmacies to provide medications to patients.

In 29 other states, there are no laws addressing the issue.

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