Walgreens pharmacist denies pregnant woman miscarriage medication over moral beliefs

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PHOENIX (KRON) – An Arizona woman says a Walgreens pharmacist denied her prescription miscarriage medication over his ethical beliefs. 

According to WTSP, the woman, Nicole Arteaga, was nine weeks pregnant when her doctor told her that her unborn baby had stopped growing and had no fetal heartbeat. 

She would have a miscarriage. 

Arteaga was given three options — to undergo a medical procedure to remove the fetus, to wait for nature to take its course, or to take prescription medication to help her body let go of the unborn baby. 

Arteaga chose to take the medication — Misoprostol — which causes a woman’s uterus to contract and allows the fetus to come out. 

When she went to her local Walgreens to pick up her prescription, the pharmacist on duty refused to give it to her. 

That pharmacist arranged for her to get her medication the following day at another Walgreens.

James W. Graham, senior manager of media relations for Walgreens, confirmed the incident and issued the following statement:

“After learning what happened, we reached out to the patient and apologized for how the situation was handled. To respect the sincerely held beliefs of our pharmacists while at the same time meeting the needs of our patients, our policy allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection. At the same time, they are also required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient’s needs in a timely manner. We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients’ needs are handled properly.”

But, Arteaga said the corporate statement wasn’t entirely true.

She claims Walgreens did not reach out to her but instead she was the one who reached out to them.

Arteaga filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy and wants a law enacted that would require pharmacists to fill prescriptions approved by doctors. 

At this time, Arizona law allows pharmacies to refuse to process prescriptions for religious or moral reasons.

Pharmacists are not legally obligated to refer customers to another pharmacy, but companies such as Walgreens have adopted individual policies for employees. 

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