ACLU files complaint with Meijer after pharmacist refused to fill miscarriage drug

Photo: American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan

A woman says a Michigan pharmacist at Meijer refused to fill a prescription to help her complete a miscarriage, telling her it was against his religion but that he didn't believe her explanation. On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a complaint with Meijer.

The ACLU says in July of this summer, Rachel Peterson's OB/GYN called in a prescription to the Meijer pharmacy in Petoskey, Mich. for medication to treat a recent miscarriage. The ACLU says the medication was crucial to take in a timely manner to avoid Peterson needing a more invasive surgical procedure. 

The Meijer pharmacist on duty refused to fill her prescription, saying that “as a good Catholic male,” he could not “in good conscience fill the prescription” because he believed it was her intention to use it to end a pregnancy, the ACLU says. The prescription was for Misoprostol, an FDA-approved medication commonly used to treat ulcers, start labor and treat miscarriages. 

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.”

The pharmacist also refused to let Peterson speak to another pharmacist, or transfer her prescription to another location. Peterson then had to leave her vacation in Petoskey and drive three hours away to a pharmacy in Ionia to get her medicine. 

“When you’re at one of the lowest moments of your life,  you don’t expect this sort of demeaning treatment,” Peterson said in a press release. “A pharmacy should not be able to deny patients medication prescribed by their doctors based on the personal beliefs of a particular employee.”

The ACLU says the actions of the pharmacist was discriminatory and violated Michigan’s public accommodations laws. The ACLU of Michigan is demanding Meijer implement a policy that ensures all pharmacy customers receive their medication without undue delay regardless of the personal beliefs of its pharmacists.

Meijer is a Midwestern regional supercenter whose headquarters are in Michigan.