An American woman who was told she would suffer a miscarriage says she was left ashamed and humiliated after a pharmacist allegedly denied her a pill to end her pregnancy on moral grounds. "Maybe educate the pharmacist on how to better handle situations like this where their beliefs aren't compromised and the customer can still get what they need", she said.
"I think her personal facts, which are highly sympathetic, was that she wanted to make him understand she was not there for some frivolous reason", Klieman said Monday on "CBS This Morning". "This is something I have zero control over", wrote Arteaga in a Facebook post.
"[The pharmacist] has no idea what its (sic) like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so". The pregnancy would end with a miscarriage - a pain Arteaga has faced before.
Nine weeks into her pregnancy, Nicole Arteaga got distressing news from her doctor: There was no fetal heartbeat and the pregnancy would end in a miscarriage. "I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering".
After leaving the store, Arteaga received an email notification that her prescription was ready at another location.
Arteaga first shared her frustrations online Thursday night by writing a review for the Walgreens pharmacy on Yelp.
Walgreens said that the company policy actually allows pharmacists to step away from filling prescriptions for which they have personal objection.
But it said: "It's important to note in that situation, the pharmacist also is required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient's needs in a timely manner". "I was seeking help for the medication I needed and he refused".
Arteaga says she has contacted the store manager, Walgreens' corporate office, and has filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy. She says she was left humiliated.
Walgreens' policy lines up with an Arizona state law that similarly allows a pharmacy, hospital or health professional not to participate in providing abortion medication, emergency contraception or any medication or device that would prevent fertilization.
She said the reactions validated her beliefs that she had been wronged.
"The pharmacist now has the exclusive right to determine whether or not they want to dispense prescriptions". At the Walgreens, Arteaga was then told by the pharmacist that he would not give her the medication because of his ethical beliefs. They told us they are now looking into her case. It is one of only six states to have that law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
These "pharmacist conscience clauses" aren't limited to Arizona. She said she opposed Arizona's "right to refuse" law when it passed in 2012, and she's been trying to repeal it since.
On Twitter, a user asked Walgreens Saturday: "What is your policy regarding dispensing prescribed medication?"
The pharmacy isn't required to refer or transfer any refused prescriptions. "What I have inside of me is an undeveloped baby", she remembers telling the pharmacist, to no avail.
"A pharmacy must treat each customer with respect and dignity, make good faith efforts not to embarrass or demean the customer and attempt to ensure a seamless delivery of prescription services." the law states.