Last November, a woman took her prescription for Methergine, a drug that stops uterine bleeding regardless of cause, to Walgreens. The pharmacist, suspicious that the woman's uncontrolled bleeding may have been the result of an abortion, called the nurse practitioner who wrote the prescription to inquire why the patient needed it. When the nurse refused to answer because to do so would violate the patient's confidentiality, the pharmacist hung up on her and refused to fill the prescription. The pharmacist's conscience apparently also prevented her from even referring the woman to a pharmacy who would fill her prescription, leaving her alone, bleeding, and lost.
Incredibly, this behavior is legal because of Idaho's new conscience clause that allows health care professionals to opt out of providing certain types of reproductive health care, including emergency contraceptives and abortion care.
It is dangerous to allow women's medical care to be at the whim of the feelings of people like that Walgreen pharmacist. According to Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, who filed a complaint with Walgreens, the pharmacy in question has taken undisclosed "corrective action" in this case. That is not enough.
Ask Walgreens to issue a statement guaranteeing that women in of medication to protect their health, medication that does not act as contraception or an abortificent, will be able to access that vital medication at any of their pharmacies. Further, more sure their pharmacists do not abuse the conscience clauses and are trained on exactly what they do and do not have the right to opt out of and how to properly handle instances where they exercise that option, including providing referrals.
Photo credit: Teeejayy