ACLU: Pharmacist at Petoskey Meijer Refused to Fill Prescription for Woman Who Miscarried

“If things go untreated I could have developed an infection and it could have progressed from there,” Rachel Peterson, explained.

A woman says a pharmacist at a Northern Michigan Meijer refused to fill her prescription and now the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan is taking action on her behalf.

Rachel Peterson says in July a pharmacist at Meijer in Petoskey refused to fill her prescription for the drug Cytotec, prescribed to her after she found out she was having a miscarriage.

The pharmacist refused to fill the prescription, citing its use in abortions and his religious beliefs.

Rachel says she’s sharing her story now, hoping that this same traumatic experience doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I wanted to make sure I could bring awareness to this event and hopefully bring positive change,” Rachel Peterson, said.

Rachel Peterson and her husband Robby took a trip to Petoskey to take their minds off their devastating loss.

Rachel’s doctor sent a prescription for the drug so she wouldn’t have to undergo a more invasive procedure for her miscarriage.

“I got a call from the pharmacist stating that he refused to fill the prescription. He stated that he was a good catholic male and could not in good conscience give me this medication,” Rachel, explained.

At first, she couldn’t believe it.

“First I said are you serious? He said yes. I divulged to him that I did have an ultrasound that confirmed my fetus was no longer viable, and that there was no detectable heartbeat. He didn’t believe me and he still would not give me the script,” Rachel, said.

In a statement, Meijer says a pharmacist *can refuse to fill a prescription based upon religious beliefs, but the prescription still needs to be filled by another pharmacist in the store or transferred to another pharmacy, at the convenience of the customer.

Rachel says he refused to do that too.

‘It was unbelievable to me that someone who’s going through one of the toughest times in their life [that he] wouldn’t have any empathy or sympathy to help me in that situation,” Rachel, added.

Now the ACLU is asking Meijer to change its policy.

“Hopefully we can get some positive policy changes in place if not just through Meijer than throughout the state,” Rachel, said.

Meijer says the pharmacist hasn’t been employed there since July.

Rachel and her husband are trying to have kids again.

Below is the full statement from Meijer:

“Meijer has received a letter from the ACLU regarding a complaint that one of our pharmacists inappropriately handled a refusal to fill a prescription. We have thoroughly investigated these allegations and while we cannot discuss this specific matter due to federal and state privacy laws that protect health information, we want all of our pharmacy customers to know of our practices regarding a pharmacists’ ability to refuse to fill a prescription. Our practice is based upon our overwhelming concern for patient safety and care, balanced with the need to accommodate the religious beliefs of our employees. 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. If no other pharmacist is available, the pharmacist must consult with the patient to arrange for the transfer of the prescription to another pharmacy that is convenient to them. This is consistent with the American Pharmacy Association and the Michigan Pharmacy Association Guidelines. A pharmacist who fails to follow this procedure, is in violation of our process.

“Meijer strives to treat its pharmacy customers with dignity and respect. 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.”