Pharmacist who refused contraception did not violate the woman’s rights: Jury

Pharmacist who refused contraception did not violate the woman’s rights: Jury

  • A Minnesota woman sued a pharmacy for denying her emergency contraception in January 2019.
  • The pharmacist told Andrea Anderson that he could not fill her prescription because of his faith.
  • However, a jury ruled that the pharmacist did not violate her rights.

A Minnesota jury ruled Friday that a pharmacist did not discriminate against a woman when he refused to fill her prescription for emergency contraception.

Gender Justice, which represented plaintiff Andrea Anderson, said it believes the pharmacist’s “actions constitute unlawful gender discrimination and will appeal the decision to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to ensure Minnesota patients can safely access the health care they need.”

In January 2019, Anderson’s doctor sent a prescription for Ella, or ulipristal — an emergency contraceptive — to the only pharmacy in her town, according to court documents.

Anderson’s first form of birth control had failed, and she needed emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. The pharmacist at Thrifty White told her he could not fill the prescription because of his “belief” and warned her to try another pharmacy in the area, the complaint said.

She then drove to a CVS 20 miles away, which also told her they couldn’t fill it, according to the complaint. Anderson said she had to drive to a pharmacy over 50 miles from her home in a snowstorm to get the prescription filled, the complaint said.

Gender Justice argued that refusing to fill Anderson’s prescription was illegal gender discrimination and violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

“To be clear, Minnesota law prohibits gender discrimination, and that includes refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception,” said Jess Braverman, legal director for Gender Justice.

The group noted that there has been a noted increase in pharmacies denying patients emergency contraception after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June. Anderson said she worries that other women are turned away when they ask for emergency contraception.

“I can’t help but wonder about the other women who might be rejected,” she said. “What if they accept the pharmacist’s decision and don’t realize that this behavior is wrong? What if they have no other choice? Not everyone has the means or ability to drive hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled. I can only hope that by coming forward and pursuing justice so others don’t have to jump through the ridiculous hurdles I did.”

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