A Pharmacist Refused This Teen Medication For Birth Control – And Now The ACLU Is Stepping In

by Seeta Charan

Using birth control to curb menstrual cramps is nothing new, but for a teen in Albuquerque, sufficient care was still out of reach. According to Teen Vogue, the 13-year-old was denied prescribed medication that she needed in preparation for her IUD because of the pharmacist’s personal beliefs. The drug, misoprostol, was prescribed in order to soften her cervix from the insertion of an IUD. It is also recognized as one of the two drugs used to induce abortion.

The teen had struggled with other birth control methods so an IUD was prescribed to her to help with her menstrual issues. She and her mother went to Walgreens, where 2 of the 3 medications were fulfilled, but the pharmacist refused to give them the misoprostol. He said he would not give the medication, and they were welcome to try a different Walgreens. The mother argued with him that he shouldn’t be judging them and that he doesn’t know the circumstances but she responds with an “Oh, I have a pretty good idea.” The mother got the ACLU and the Southwest Women’s Law Center involved.

The ACLU previously worked with a similar situation at the same Walgreens that ended with policies put in place to avoid religious beliefs from hindering prescription fulfillment. In theory, the pharmacist should step away from the counter and let someone else take over. Here not only did the pharmacist deny them of their medication he forced them to go to another Walgreens.

The ACLU of New Mexico released this statement regarding the incident: “Birth control and other medications related to reproductive health are a vital part of healthcare for women. Walgreens can work to accommodate the personal beliefs of its employees, but they must not do so by permitting discriminatory denials of care that burden their patients and customers.” The Executive Director of the SWLC said, “Women deserve the same level of care and respect as men in a Walgreens pharmacy.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Bowden

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