If You’re Having a Miscarriage, Don’t Expect Walgreen’s Pharmacy to Help You

Last week I mentioned that I am angry all the time these days.  All.  The.  Time.  Today’s outrage comes after a casual perusal of the news.  I just learned that an Arizona woman, after being told by her physician that her body was in the midst of miscarrying her fetus, was given the option of having a surgical procedure, or taking a prescription to expel the no longer developing fetus from her body.  The woman opted for the medication.  Her pharmacist refused to fill the prescription for moral and ethical reasons.

Think about that, ladies.  Since I read about it, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.  A woman was informed that her body was rejecting her pregnancy, that her fetus had no heartbeat and had stopped developing.  She would miscarry her pregnancy.  This was what was happening, regardless of anyone’s morals or ethics.  The fetus would never grow into a baby.  It is a brutal loss.

I have had four miscarriages.  One happened very, very early into the pregnancy, before I had even been to the doctor.  The other three were after I was in a doctor’s care, but all during the first trimester.  Those last three miscarriages were discovered during routine ultrasounds, when, just like this Arizona woman, the doctor detected no heartbeat.  I went in, happy and excited, I left wrecked.  Those experiences were devastating to me.

Two of my miscarriages required a D & C, dilation and curettage, a surgical procedure, per my physician.  The last one was allowed to pass through my body naturally.  Miscarriage is something I don’t write about often, but I am often surprised by how many women have experienced one, even when we don’t talk about it.  They are a painful and unacknowledged loss for many.

A day after learning that her pregnancy was not viable, which, by the way, is how the medical folks describe it in their notes, the Arizona woman made the decision to take the medication to enable her body to fully expel the undeveloping fetus.  She went to her local Walgreen’s to pick up her prescription, her seven year old son by her side.  The pharmacist on duty, after asking her if she was pregnant, refused to fill the prescription.  He explained that he was opposed to giving her the medication on ethical grounds.  The woman tried to explain her situation, despite it being none of his damn business, but he still refused.

What in the Handmaid’s Tale is happening here, ladies?

Under Arizona law, a pharmacist can decline to fill prescriptions for moral or ethical objections, but Walgreen’s has stated that if they do so, they are supposed to refer the prescription to another pharmacist on duty.  Walgreen’s has acknowledged that the pharmacist did not follow corporate protocol, as when the Arizona woman requested another pharmacist on duty help her, the man refused, instead saying he could phone the prescription in to another Walgreen’s.


BAH!  Some days I feel like I am going mad.  I hope this makes you angry.  Please tell me this makes you angry.  Ultimately, the woman got her prescription, but at a different pharmacy and on a different day.  The least of it was that she was inconvenienced.  More significant was that her grief and trauma of miscarriage worsened when a man, under legal protection, decided that a woman using a legally prescribed medication, could not miscarry her already non-viable pregnancy using pills he deemed immoral to provide.  It is madness, this America in 2018.

Where does it end?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I sure as hell know that every day is looking more and more like an America I no longer recognize.  Last week I was griping about the fact that my insurer was bought out by CVS Pharmacy, a corporation that no longer will allow me to have my prescriptions filled at Walgreen’s, my preferred pharmacy.  If I want coverage, I now need to get that at the corporation that owns my insurer.  Today, that bothers me a little less, reading about this man who made life harder for a woman in the midst of a miscarriage, but the truth is that all of it is wrong, and, increasingly, we are just rolling with the punches.

So, yeah.  Another day, another outrage.  I’m getting pretty used to this, and that terrifies me.


You can read more about this breaking news story HERE or watch an interview with the Arizona woman HERE.

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