We talk about IUDs–you know, the form of birth control that basically just looks like a tiny goal post that you put inside your vagina–pretty frequently here at Gurl. We’ve talked about what it’s like to get one. The side effects that go along with getting one. Why getting an IUD might be better than being on the pill. One thing we haven’t discussed? What to do if you find out that the person in charge of actually getting your IUD for you refuses to do that. But that is exactly what happened to a thirteen-year-old girl in New Mexico.
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and the Southwest Women’s Law Center filed two complaints with the New Mexico Human Rights bureau on behalf of the thirteen-year-old girl and her mother. According to the suits, the girl was prescribed an IUD to help with menstrual issues after other methods like birth control didn’t work. When the mother and daughter went to a Walgreens in August to fill a prescription for the hormone misoprostol (which softens the cervix to make inserting an IUD easier), along with pain medication and anti-anxiety pills, the pharmacist said he would fill the prescription for the pain and anxiety meds–but not the IUD medication.
This, the pharmacist allegedly said, was due to his “personal beliefs,” since the hormone can also be used to induce an abortion, and told the mother and daughter that they could go to another Walgreens pharmacy to pick up the prescriptions (which, it should be noted, might not be easy to do for everyone, particularly if they don’t have a car). A Walgreens representative told Yahoo!Beauty that pharmacists are allowed to “step away” from filling orders to which they have a moral objection, but “requires the pharmacist or other employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty to complete the customer’s request.”
The Walgreens pharmacist clearly didn’t follow this entire procedure–and, the ACLU says, his discomfort with the prescription is sex-based discrimination, since it was based on the “assumption that her daughter would use the medication for a reproductive health purpose to which he was personally opposed.”
Basically? This is an unfair thing to make anyone feel responsible for, let alone a thirteen-year-old- girl. The ACLU finished up the suit by saying: “Walgreens should take reasonable steps to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs and practices, but it cannot do so by imposing additional discriminatory burdens on women.”
What do you think of the case? Do you think the pharmacist had a right to do it? Let us know in the comments!