Michigan Woman Files Lawsuit After Pharmacist Denies Miscarriage Medication Over Religious Beliefs

The ACLU in Michigan has filed a lawsuit on Rachel Peterson’s behalf against the supermarket company, Meijer, citing that Peterson was a victim of sex discrimination after her prescription was denied by a pharmacist at the Meijer store located in Poteskey.

Rachel Peterson was prescribed Misoprostol by her doctor after suffering a miscarriage in July. She drove three hours to the Meijer store in Poteskey, but the pharmacist, Richard Kalkman, refused to provide her with the medication. Kalkman cited his Catholic beliefs as the reason behind his refusal; he thought that Peterson wanted to use the medication to terminate her pregnancy and did not accept Peterson’s response that her doctor said the pregnancy was not viable. Peterson also stated that Kalkman neither let her speak with another pharmacist or a supervisor, nor did he allow her to transfer her prescription to another pharmacy. Peterson was on vacation at the time of the incident and drove back three hours to a pharmacy near her hometown to get the prescription filled.

While the Meijer Pharmacy has a policy against discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex, the ACLU argues that the current policy is insufficient. A statement from Meijer cites that a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription due to religious beliefs, but the prescription must be filled by another pharmacist in the store or transferred to a different pharmacy when another pharmacist is unavailable. The ACLU demands that Meijer implements a policy that ensures all pharmacy customers receive their medication without delay or consideration of the pharmacists’ personal beliefs.

Additional Reading:

Michigan Pharmacist Denies Woman Miscarriage Medication Over Religious BeliefsNBC News (October 18, 2018)

ACLU Letter of Complaint

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