An Arizona woman who learned she had suffered a miscarriage was denied an abortion pill by a Walgreens pharmacist who told her that helping her would violate his personal ethics. The pill would’ve helped to remove the dead fetus from her body. Nicole Arteaga, 35, said that pharmacist, Briane Hreniuc, refused her prescription for Misoprostol even after she tried to discreetly explain to him over the pharmacy counter that her fetus no longer had a heartbeat.
“I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs,” she wrote in a Facebook post. “I get it we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over … I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor.”
After being left shaken and deeply upset by the encounter, she said, she decided to share her story after thinking about the other women to whom the pharmacist might have denied service.
“Does this mean he denies women the right to birth control and morning after pill, and what’s the stance with fertility drugs?” she asked. “I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering … How is this okay?”
Later that night, she said, she received an email notification saying that the pharmacist had transferred her prescription to a different Walgreens. After consulting with her doctor to ensure she wouldn’t be refused once more, she picked up her prescription from the other store “with no problems.”
In a statement, Walgreens defended the pharmacist’s conduct as in accordance with both the company’s policy and state law, noting that Arizona is one of six states that allows for pharmacists to deny selling emergency contraceptives.
In the video below, watch Arteaga tell her story to CNN’s Poppy Harlow.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.