Michigan pharmacist who denied miscarriage drug no longer in job

Michigan pharmacist who denied miscarriage drug no longer in job

The Michigan pharmacist who refused to refill a woman’s miscarriage medication because he was a “good Catholic male” is no longer with the pharmacy company he was working for at the time. 

Rachel Peterson filed a complaint through the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan this week after a pharmacist at a Meijer grocery store refused to fill her prescription.

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Christina Fecher, a spokesperson for Meijer, told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday that pharmacist is no longer with the company.

"Meijer strives to treat its pharmacy customers with dignity and respect," Fecher said. "The pharmacist identified by recent reports has not been employed by Meijer since early July 2018. While we cannot comment on any pharmacy customer matter, we apologize for any customer experience that does not align with our core values."

Peterson was prescribed Misoprostol following a miscarriage about 11 weeks into her first pregnancy in July.

Misoprostol is a drug used in combination with another to induce labor, but can also be used against stomach ulcers.

The pharmacist would not dispense the medicine because of his personal religious views and reportedly refused to transfer it to another pharmacy.

"He said that he was a good Catholic male and that he couldn’t in good conscience give me this medication because it’s used for abortions, and he could not prescribe that," Peterson said. 

"When I divulged to him that the fetus was no longer viable, and that ... I needed to progress the situation further, he said, 'Well, that’s your word and I don’t believe you,' and he refused to fill it."

Peterson eventually called a different Meijer location 3 1/2 hours away, where a pharmacist filled the prescription.

Meijer allows pharmacists to abstain from filling a prescription but they are required to transfer the prescription to another pharmacy or have another Meijer pharmacist fill it.

Merissa Kovach, a Michigan ACLU policy strategist, said in a statement that Peterson was a victim of sex discrimination.

“Had the customer been a man prescribed the same medication, that is also commonly used to treat ulcers, the pharmacist would have filled it,” Kovach said.

“What we would hope is that Meijer and other pharmacies would agree that they're allowed to accommodate the personal beliefs of their employees, but that accommodation cannot include permitting discriminatory denials of care that burden patients and customers,” she told the Tribune