ONE Minnesota The jury has ruled that a pharmacy did not discriminate against a woman when it refused to give her the morning-after pill.
The pharmacist cited “belief” as the reason for refusing to fill the prescription for emergency contraception. Although the jury decided that the woman’s rights had not been violated, it said the emotional harm caused by the decision amounted to $25,000.
Gender Justice, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Andrea Anderson in 2019, though the case didn’t go to trial until Monday.
Anderson was refused morning-after birth control bills by several pharmacies, and said she would have to travel 100 miles in total to get a pill.
In a statement released by Gender Justice, she expressed concern about the precedent the jury’s decision sets and the message it sends to other women seeking emergency contraception.
“What if they accept the pharmacist’s decision and don’t realize that this behavior is wrong? What if they have no other choice?” Anderson said. “Not everyone has the means or ability to drive hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled.”
“Unfortunately, very personal health decisions, such as whether to get pregnant and grow your family, are highly politicized,” said Jess Braverman, legal director at Gender Justice. “It is illegal sex discrimination in the state of Minnesota for a pharmacist to refuse to dispense emergency contraception without at least ensuring that a patient can get their prescription without additional delay and cost to them.”
The judgment follows a decision in June by the Supreme Court overturn the constitutional right to an abortion originally protected in Roe v Wade.
Minnesota still allows abortions legally after overturning Roe, and permanently blocked “many medically unnecessary restrictions” in July.
Friday’s jury decision coincided with Indiana to introduce an almost total ban on abortionthe first state to do so after the overturning of Roe.
After the adoption of the law, the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly said it will be “forced to plan for more employment growth outside our home state”.
“We are concerned that this law will hinder Lilly’s – and Indiana’s – ability to attract diverse scientific, engineering and business talent from around the world,” it said.
Last week, in the nation’s first referendum on abortion since the Supreme Court’s decision, voters came in Kansas declined an amendment to their state constitution protecting abortion rights.
The surprise victory was celebrated as a testament to the desire for abortion rights nationwide, even in Republican-leaning states.