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Minnesota jury rules pharmacist who denied woman morning-after pill did not violate her rights

Written by Javed Iqbal

A Minnesota jury ruled Friday that a pharmacist did not discriminate when he failed to fill a woman’s emergency contraceptive prescription after her previous contraceptive method failed, according to the gender advocacy group Gender Justice.

An Aitkin County jury found that a pharmacist’s decision not to provide an emergency contraceptive prescription to plaintiff Andrea Anderson after citing his “belief” did not constitute discrimination.

According to court documents, Anderson went to the only pharmacy in her town to pick up a prescription for emergency contraception after another method failed, but the pharmacy there denied her request.

The filing further alleges that she later had to drive a total of more than 100 miles to get her morning-after pill after several pharmacies rejected her request.

Anderson was awarded $25,000 for emotional distress caused by the original pharmacist who refused to fill the prescription.

“I can’t help but wonder about the other women who might be rejected,” Anderson said in a statement.

“What if they accept the pharmacist’s decision and don’t realize that this behavior is wrong? What if they have no other choice? Not everyone has the means or ability to drive hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled.”

The legal director of Gender Justice, which represents Anderson, said it plans to appeal the decision.

“To be clear, Minnesota law prohibits gender discrimination, and that includes refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception,” Jess Braverman, legal director of Gender Justice, said in a statement. “The jury didn’t decide what the law is, they decided the facts of what happened here in this particular case.”

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Javed Iqbal

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