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Minnesota jury: Woman had no right to morning-after pill

Written by Javed Iqbal

AITKIN, Minn. — A jury ruled Friday that a central Minnesota pharmacist did not violate a woman’s rights when he refused to give her emergency contraception more than three years ago.

Andrea Anderson, a mother of five from McGregor, sued under the Minnesota Human Rights Act after the pharmacist, based on his religious beliefs, refused to accommodate her request. State law prohibits discrimination based on sex, including matters related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The ruling comes amid national political debate over birth control under federal law, with the US House passing a bill that would guarantee the right to birth control. House Democrats are concerned that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that has already struck down federal abortion rights could go further and limit the use of birth control.

Leaders from the group Gender Justice, which represented Anderson, said they plan to appeal, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“The testimony was so clear that she received inferior services to other clients because what she was going there for was emergency contraception. So we believe that under the law it is discrimination in Minnesota,” said Jess Braverman, legal director of the advocacy group.

Anderson brought her prescription for a morning-after pill to the Thrifty White pharmacy in McGregor in January 2019. Longtime pharmacist George Badeaux told her he could not fill the prescription based on his convictions.

Anderson eventually got his prescription filled at a pharmacy in Brainerd, making a round trip of more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) in wintry driving conditions.

Attorneys for Badeaux did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Javed Iqbal

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