Meijer: Pharmacist who denied miscarriage drug, citing religion, no longer an employee

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

Meijer has responded to a complaint filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of MI, regarding an Ionia woman who was denied a prescription at the company's Petoskey pharmacy to help her body respond to a recent miscarriage.

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.

She says he also refused to have another pharmacist fill the prescription and would not arrange for a different pharmacy to give her the medicine, contrary to Meijer policy.

"When you're at one of the lowest moments in your life, you don't expect this sort of demeaning treatment", Peterson said in a statement.

She had to drive home to Ionia County to get her local Meijer to track down the prescription and fill it.

This devastating news was what led Rachel and her husband, Robby, to drive three hours away from their hometown in Ionia, Michigan to find some peace during this hard period in their lives.

"So Rachel was denied this based on the personal beliefs of this pharmacist and then also because she's a woman".

Her reason for coming forward with her story, she said, was to ensure that action is taken so no other woman has to endure the emotional pain she experienced when she was denied medicine she needed at such a vulnerable time in her life.

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A Meijer spokesperson told the Press that their policy requires pharmacists with moral objections to filling prescriptions ask another pharmacist to step in, or else transfer the prescription to another pharmacy. "Had a man shown up with the same prescription for misoprostol to treat his stomach ulcer ... there is no doubt that [the pharmacist] would have filled his prescription right away".

"And it was very disheartening and frustrating and I just felt this couldn't be happening", Peterson told NBC News.

"You know, I was fortunate enough to have other resources to obtain this medication and other people may not", she said.

The Michigan woman was "clearly was a victim of sex discrimination", according to the ACLU of Michigan policy strategist Merissa Kovach.

In its letter of complaint to Meijer, the ACLU wrote, "Not only must Mr. Kalkman be disciplined for treating Ms. Peterson cruelly, but Meijer must implement a policy to ensure that all customers in the future receive their medication without undue delay, regardless of the personal beliefs of its pharmacists".

Meijer is a privately owned company with almost 250 supermarkets and 200 gas stations in the Midwest. Only several states now have legislation requiring that pharmacists fill all prescriptions, and many states have no related legislation at all.

Meijer said in a statement that Kalkman's employment there ended shortly after the July 1 incident. In Alabama, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas, pharmacists are allowed to refuse but may not obstruct access to the medication. Eight states require pharmacies to provide medications to patients.

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