The following is from Nancy Keenan, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
I'd like to share my personal experience at the Pamida Pharmacy on Saturday, April 16th, 2005.
I walked up to a busy counter with a prescription for two medications. The pharmacist took the note and told me she'd fill one medication, but I'd have to come back on Monday to have the birth control filled by the other pharmacist. I verbally questioned this, because she herself was a pharmacist. Her answer was "for moral reasons I will not fill a birth control prescription."
I challenged the pharmacist by telling her, "It's a valid medical prescription signed by a medical doctor. Your other customers are receiving service. I shouldn't have to come back Monday when I'm here now." I was refused a second time on the same grounds and told to try another pharmacy. My response, "No, my insurance information is here and this is where I come to get my prescriptions." I was refused a third time. When I asked her to show me written documentation that would give her a legal right to refuse, she had nothing to show me.
Correspondence with the Pamida pharmacist manager was most disturbing. I was again told to come back when the other pharmacist was working or to follow a sticker on the prescription that instructs the patient to call in their refill a week ahead of time. Although they upheld the actions of their pharmacist, I was not told anything regarding their policy on the issue or given any evidence that the pharmacist acted within her legal right.
We are constantly being confronted with such emotionally charged issues as abortion, family welfare, domestic abuse, etc. It seems very contradictory to refuse a product whose absence will only make these issues more volatile.
Just a few weeks ago, Becky P. became only the latest in a string of women who've had their birth control prescriptions refused by anti-choice pharmacies.
It's no surprise that our opponents fight women's access to abortion. But now anti-choice pressure groups are even encouraging pharmacists to refuse birth control to women like Becky.
When this happened to her, Becky -- like most of the women affected by this disturbing and growing trend -- had no idea if her pharmacy's refusal was legal, no idea of how to get her prescription filled, and no idea how she might fight back.
Thankfully, Becky's tenacity led her to call us and start her own campaign to fight back. But many more women are forced to simply endure this degrading experience because they do not know their options. Even worse, women in towns with only one pharmacy can't even get their prescriptions filled elsewhere -- leaving them with no options and no birth control pills.
We've asked those who oppose a woman's right to choose to work with us where we might have common ground -- by improving access to birth control. Becky's story and the experiences of countless other women tell me that we have a long way to go.
We can't let this stand. When a woman and her doctor decide that a birth control prescription is in her best interest, a third party has no right to override that decision. Women need someone on their side. Click here to help us keep up the fight!
We've launched a nationwide campaign to fight this anti-choice ploy and protect a woman's right to have her birth control prescriptions filled without harassment. With your help, we can make sure every woman who faces this situation knows her rights and knows how she can fight back.
You can help us make sure this work keeps going strong - click here to help us: (SEE LINK ABOVE)https://secure.ga3.org/02/pharmacies/nEda7Nf51tRIM?
Put pressure on national pharmacy chains.
Raise awareness online and through demonstrations at pharmacies across the country.
Pass laws at the state and federal levels to guarantee that no woman is turned away.
Protect a woman's right to choose on all levels!
Becky shared her story in order to do what she can to fight back -- thank you for reading her story. We are here to help people like Becky fight back, but we depend on the generous support of people like you to keep moving forward -- if you can, click here and make a gift to keep efforts like these going strong.
President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Sherril here, again. I have an idea and would appreciate feedback. When pharmacies are identified as in any way refusing to fill prescriptions for women's birth control, an immediate protest outside the pharmacy should be set up. As part of this protest, some of the signs should read: IN FAIRNESS NO MORE CONDOMS SHOULD BE SOLD AT THIS PHARMACY FOR AS LONG AS WOMEN'S BIRTH CONTROL IS DENIED.
Another might read: AS LONG AS WOMEN'S BIRTH CONTROL IS LIMITED BY THIS PHARMACY, PRESCRIPTIONS FOR VIAGRA AND OTHERS FOR ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION WILL ALSO BE REFUSED TO MEN WHOSE WIVES DO NOT WANT TO GET PREGNANT....WHAT'S FAIR IS FAIR.
If anyone knows of pharmacies refusing birth control scripts, please let me know name, location and as much other information as possible. I will be happy to head up this campaign. If you want to join me and have other ideas, let me know.