A woman in Minnesota is suing two pharmacies after she says that she was denied the morning-after pill. Andrea Anderson claims that both Thrifty White Pharmacy and CVS denied her the morning-after pill despite having a prescription for the pill. She says that the pharmacist at Thrifty White Pharmacy told her that he could not fill the prescription due to his personal beliefs and the CVS pharmacist not only denied her the pill, but also tried to prevent her from getting the pill from another pharmacy. CVS issued a statement: "CVS is committed to providing access to emergency contraception, whether it is at the pharmacy counter for patients who have a prescription for it, or in our store aisles where we have sold over-the-counter emergency contraception for several years."
It was simultaneously encouraging and disheartening to read the comments that people made about this topic- ranging from those supporting the woman who was denied service to people who were confused about what a morning after pill is and thought it with an abortifacient. (FYI: A morning after pill is a pill taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent fertilization- it does this by stopping an egg from being released from the ovary or by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. An abortion pill, on the other hand, is taken to end a pregnancy- it does this by expelling the embryo. A morning after pill prevents pregnancy from happening in the first place- it doesn't end a pregnancy.)
What's scary is that a lot of people are uninformed or misinformed on the subject of reproduction and contraceptives but freely express their opinions (or make laws!) that pertain to this area. Remember former Missouri Congressman, Todd Akin, who claimed that rape victims wouldn't need abortions since "if it's legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down"? (Unfortunately, as most people know, this is untrue.) It's frightening that there are congresspeople and people who are in charge of helping others (pharmacists, doctors) who are grossly misinformed.
It's also frightening that many people are poorly educated about sex/reproduction yet do not wish to learn more or allow others to learn more. This desire to avoid learning/prevent others from learning sex education in conjunction with the desire to limit contraceptives, limit the morning-after pill, and limit access to abortion creates a poor situation for those of reproductive age and the children they will produce. Every child deserves to be wanted and cared for- preventing people from being able to engage in family planning doesn't help children, parents, or society.
It's strange that some people choose to take jobs serving the public but then refuse to fulfill their job description due to religious or personal reasons. It's not just in the pharmaceutical realm either- a few months ago, there was a news story about a Mississippi wedding venue that denied an interracial couple's wedding due to their "Christian beliefs." If one's religious/personal ideology restricts one's actions to the extent that one cannot perform the duties of one's occupation, it would make sense to choose an occupation that is more in line with their beliefs. The world is big and filled with many people with many different beliefs- it would be impossible for everyone we interact with to fall in line with our personal beliefs.
If everything happened the way Anderson described, she should be well within her rights to sue the pharmacies for not providing service to her or honoring her prescription. And if CVS truly adheres to the statement that they provided in response to this suit, the company should probably have a discussion with the pharmacist in their employ.