An Albuquerque Walgreens refused to fill a hormone for a 13-year-old girl’s IUD insertion. The girl had been prescribed the IUD to help with menstrual issues. The hormone was prescribed along with a painkiller and some anxiety medicine to make the IUD insertion easier.
The pharmacist said that filling the hormone went against his beliefs. The hormone prescribed is one that is also used to induce abortions, even though the girl wasn’t using it for that purpose.
The mother said she told him 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.”
She said the pharmacist just looked at her and said:
“Oh, I have a pretty good idea.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) letter to the pharmacy says that forcing the woman to drive to another pharmacy for the medicine is putting an undue burden on her. The letter told the company to immediately address this discriminatory practice and tell them to find ways to keep it from happening again.
ACLU attorney Erin Armstrong wrote:
“Religious liberty does not mean the right to discriminate against others. Walgreens should take reasonable steps to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs and practices, but it cannot do so by imposing additional discriminatory burdens on women.”
Walgreens issued the following statement:
“We take very seriously our responsibility to serve the prescription needs of our patients. While we cannot comment on the specifics of this incident, we can tell you that our policy is intended to meet the needs of our patients while also respecting the sincerely held views of our pharmacists. We believe our policy has been very effective in doing that.”
Hopefully, Walgreens won’t do this again. They have no right to refuse someone medicine that has been deemed needed by a medical professional. From the sound of this letter, I don’t think Walgreens will actually do anything about this. Walgreens policy says that pharmacists are allowed to refuse a prescription if it goes against their beliefs. However, they are supposed to have someone else fill the prescription.
Walgreens is actually violating the State Human Rights Act of New Mexico. The pharmacy also had an agreement that they would fill all prescriptions because of a past case of a refusal.