A MI woman says a pharmacist for a regional supermarket chain denied her medication prescribed to treat her miscarriage because it was against his religious beliefs.
The American Civil Liberties Union of MI today filed a complaint with Meijer after a pharmacist refused to fill a customer's prescription that was medically necessary to treat her miscarriage.
MI couple denied miscarriage medicine over pharmacists' religious beliefs.
Misoprostol can be used to prevent stomach ulcers and also can be used to induce labor during pregnancy, to aid in the completion of a miscarriage and in the treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. Rachel Peterson of Ionia tells the Detroit Free Press the pharmacist worked at a Meijer store in Petoskey.
When Peterson told the pharmacist that her OB/GYN found no signs of viability from the fetus, which confirmed an early pregnancy loss, he accused her of lying and said "that was just [her] word".
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Kovach said it's hard to pinpoint precisely how pervasive an issue like Peterson's is in MI. "If it's happening to me, then who else could it be happening to?" Instead he "berated" Peterson, according to the ACLU.
If mourning the loss of her unborn child wasn't awful enough, 35-year-old Rachel Peterson had to get medication to help with her miscarriage, or else she would require invasive surgery.
"So I contacted the Meijer's in Ionia, and that pharmacist was wonderful, he was very sympathetic and apologetic and was appalled at the behavior and said that he would do whatever he could to obtain the script via their system", Peterson said. A Meijer pharmacist hours away in Ionia agreed to fill the prescription. "There could be the only pharmacy for hundreds of miles around and that could be very unsafe for someone".
"It's a hard thing to track because it deals with such a private, personal matter when it does happen", Kovach told Fox News, adding she does "hear stories through the grapevine" about women and members of the LGBT community who are discriminated against by medical professionals. She asked whether the prescription could be transferred to another pharmacy. "Our client clearly was a victim of sex discrimination". But the ACLU says that's not enough.
Meijer is a Midwestern regional supercenter whose headquarters are in MI.
The ACLU says the actions of the pharmacist was discriminatory and violated Michigan's public accommodations laws.
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The pharmacist, whom Meijer declined to identify, has not been employed by the grocery chain since July, it said.
In a statement to CBS News, Meijer said: "A pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription based upon religious beliefs. However, our procedure requires the prescription to then be filled by another pharmacist in the store", Meijer said in a statement.
If another pharmacist isn't available, Fecher said, the prescription should be transferred to another location that is convenient for the patient.
"Meijer strives to treat its pharmacy customers with dignity and respect".
In 29 other states, there are no laws addressing the issue. Fewer than half of US states do, according to the National Women's Law Center.
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