Walgreens Pharmacist Says No Abortion 💊

Photo: Patrick Breen /The Arizona Republic via AP

Photo: Patrick Breen /The Arizona Republic via AP

Necessity vs ethics

Last week, a Walgreens pharmacist denied a woman her prescription to medically abort her non-developing fetus in Peoria, Arizona. In a 1-star Yelp review and Facebook post, the woman recounted how the pharmacist cited his ethical beliefs for his refusal. After eventually filling her prescription at another Walgreens, she filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.
A bottleneck for birth control?

Arizona is one of six states in which pharmacies, doctors, hospitals, and other health facilities can deny patients with prescriptions based on moral grounds. The law pointedly refers to abortion medication, emergency contraception, and birth control. Walgreens also stated its company policy that pharmacists can redirect a transaction to another pharmacist if they believe it interferes with their moral beliefs.

The right is less emotionally-charged as the left. They acknowledge that the pharmacist was in the wrong by delaying the woman's prescription beyond what is considered timely. However, right folk emphasized that the pharmacist was within his rights to refuse the prescription on moral grounds, as enforced by both Walgreens policy and state law. Furthermore, they note that Hreunic was the only pharmacist on duty, so he was also justified in calling another location.

The left is dumbfounded by the pharmacist’s response and focuses on the implications for reproductive rights. They condemn the pharmacist for depriving the woman of free choice over her body, especially since the unviable pregnancy already left her distraught. They view his actions as ignorant to women’s overall plight, while commending the woman for speaking up. Left folk also frame Arizona’s law as archaic and problematic. 

Bipartisan sensationalism?

This incident parallels Sarah Sanders’ Red Hen moment; both women were denied services, each representing a larger debate—women’s rights and political civility, respectively. Both episodes highlight the blurred line between personal and work/public spheres. Recent outbursts make it clear that civility is lost within both sides’ discourses and has been replaced by sensational statements that spark outrage more so than debate.

When you're mad at the other side



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