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A Drug Store Pharmacist Denied a Miscarrying Woman’s Prescription On His Moral Grounds

If anyone has ever undergone a miscarriage, you know how devastating the entire ordeal can be.  It is an emotional time especially when time comes to expelling the non-viable baby from your uterus.

Fortunately for technology, women no longer have to succumb to the very invasive treatment of having an in office surgical procedure done. Nowadays, there is US Food and Drug Administration-approved medicine called Misoprostol that will do it for you.

That is the option that 35-year-old Nicole Arteaga took when her doctor offered it but when she went to her local Walgreens drug store in Peoria, Arizona last Wednesday to fill the prescription at  nine weeks pregnant, the pharmacist refused.

He cited his own moral objections, as Arteaga described in a now-viral detailed Facebook post

Arizona is one of six states that allow pharmacies or pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on religious or moral grounds, according to the National Women’s Law Center.

“If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be,” Arteaga wrote in her post, which has been shared more than 36,000 times. “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.”

She was later able to get the drug when she received notification that her  prescription was ready for pickup at another location across town.

Walgreens eventually said in a statement that Walgreens pharmacists are allowed to “step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection” per the State’s law.

According to the statement, and in this situation, the pharmacist was “required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient’s needs in a timely manner.”

The Arizona State Board of Pharmacy announced Monday that it plans to investigate what happened in Arteaga’s case.

The AP reports that the board wants to look into whether the Walgreens pharmacist actually followed the Arizona law:

“Arizona is one of multiple states with a ‘conscience clause’ law that allows health care providers to refrain from assisting in abortion, abortion medication or emergency contraception. The law says medical professionals like pharmacists must state their objection in writing.”

Kam Gandhi, the executive director of the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy, told the AP that the state’s “conscience clause” law needs to be clarified.

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