Walgreens Pharmacist Refused To Give Prescription For Medical Abortion

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A viral post by a woman who says she was denied medication to end a pregnancy when her baby stopped developing, has ignited a push to change laws that permit refusal of abortion drug for "ethical" reasons.

Nicole Arteaga, a first-grade teacher who lives in Peoria, Ariz., had a Walgreens pharmacist deny her medication that had been prescribed for a failed pregnancy.

"I don't have control over my body and I don't have control of the situation", Arteaga said.

The doctor gave her two options to manage the miscarriage, she said: She could have a surgical procedure, or she could take medication. Arizona's law says hospitals and physicians can refuse abortion services and emergency contraception if doing so violates their beliefs. "My (doctor) gave me two choices D & C or a prescription that will help induce bleeding and discharge in the comfort of my home", she wrote.

The woman voiced her anguish on Facebook, and also left a negative review on the U.S. chain's Yelp page, with many people - particularly women - banding together to push to scrap the legislation. "This is not how I wanted my pregnancy to go, but this is my situation".

"This is something I have zero control over", she posted on Facebook.

Ultimately, Arteaga left in tears - without the medication. I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at a time when you are vulnerable and already suffering.


The laws governing pharmacies vary from state to state.

A few days ago, 35-year-old Nicole Arteaga went to the Walgreens on Peoria and 91st Avenues, with her 7-year-old son, to pick up a prescription.

Arteaga said she spoke to a store manager "who did not seem happy about what had happened" and had also contacted Walgreens corporate office. She opted for the latter but when she went to pick up the prescription, the pharmacist denied her the meds because of his ethical beliefs.

Walgreens company policy, according to Fox 10, allows pharamacists to reject prescription requests if they have moral objections, but they're still required to refer the prescriptions to other pharmacists or managers on duty.

The statement also said that company was "looking into" the incident Arteaga described and that they reached out to her "and apologized for how the situation was handled".

The company told the Associated Press today that the pharmacist in question was the only one on duty at the time, so he called another location to serve the patient.

Arizona is one of six states that permit pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions on moral or religious grounds without requiring a referral or transfer of the prescription, according to the National Women's Law Center.


Confused, Arteaga thought that if she explained what was going on, the pharmacist would change his mind.

She said the embarrassment added to the emotions she is experiencing after losing a child.

Walgreens said in a statement Monday that it is looking into the matter "to ensure our patients' needs are handled properly". She left in tears without her medication. "After waking up in the morning I realized that this is something that is not OK, and that I wanted people to know".

On Twitter, a user asked Walgreens Saturday: "What is your policy regarding dispensing prescribed medication?"

"I experienced something no woman should ever have to", she wrote.

Arteaga said the he did not explain any further.


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