A woman in Arizona was recently denied the medication she needed to end her pregnancy by a local pharmacist, and she's opening up about the emotional experience on social media.
According to Buzzfeed News, Nicole Arteaga, 35, a mother and schoolteacher from Peoria, Arizona, received the devastating news from her doctor that her baby had stopped developing and no longer had a heartbeat. Because she would eventually miscarry, Arteaga was told she could choose to have either a surgical procedure or take the pill misoprostol. She opted for the medication, but when she went to pick it up at her local Walgreens, Arteaga says the pharmacist on duty asked her if she was pregnant and then rejected the prescription, saying it was against his beliefs.
Arteaga says she tried to explain her situation to the pharmacist, but was denied. Now, she's sharing her story on Instagram and Facebook, and her post has gone viral, attracting thousands of comments and more than 35,000 shares.
"He has no idea what its [sic] like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so," she writes on Instagram. "If you have gone thru [sic] a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be. 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.”
This post isn’t something I generally do, but last night I experienced something no women should ever have to go thru especially under these circumstances or any other circumstances. I hadn’t planned on telling anyone outside our immediate family but two months we were surprised to find out I was pregnant. After a previous miscarriage the doctor had been monitoring me weekly. Unfortunately on Tuesday we found out the baby’s development had stopped and I ultimately will have a miscarriage. Dr gave me two options D&C or prescription medication. I opted for prescription. Last night I went to pick up my medication at my local Walgreens only to be denied the prescription I need. 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. 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. He has no idea what its like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be. 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. I am unsure where Walgreens draws the lines with their pharmacist but does this mean he denies women the right to birth control and morning after pill, and what’s the stance with fertility drugs. 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. I am in left in disbelief on how this can happen? How is this okay? I can’t be the only one who has gone thru this. #walgreens
Arizona is one of six U.S. states—along with Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota—where it's legal for a pharmacist to refuse to fill a prescription for emergency contraception if it interferes with their religious or ethical beliefs.
Commenters on social media are in an uproar about how Arteaga's reproductive plan was interfered with to the point that she wasn't able to get the medication she desperately needed. "I am furious for you," writes the Instagram user fran_cause_a_scene. "I recently had a similar experience and could not even begin to imagine how helpless you must have felt. This is such an emotional time to begin with [sic] you don't need to explain yourself to a pharmacist."
In her Instagram post, Arteaga writes that she feels as if she had zero control over the events that transpired with her pregnancy. "I get it we all have our beliefs," she says. "But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted."
Walgreens has issued an apology to Arteaga and said it is looking into the incident. By sharing her experience, Arteaga is helping shed light on the difficult situations and lack of empathy women often experience when it comes to their reproductive health.