February 2020 Church & State Magazine | People & Events

A Minnesota woman is suing two pharmacies after she was denied emergency contraception.

Andrea Anderson said she tried to get a prescription for the drug filled at a Thrifty White Pharmacy in McGregor, where she lives. The pharmacist turned her down, reported the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Anderson said the pharmacist told her he was not comfortable filling the prescription.

“I then realized what was happening,” Anderson said. “He was refusing to fill my prescription for emergency contraception because he did not believe in it.”

Anderson, a 39-year-old mother of five, was also turned away from a CVS in the town of Aitkin about 20 miles from her home. She was finally able to get the prescription filled at a drugstore 50 miles away.

Anderson’s lawsuit, Anderson v. Grand St. Paul CVS, was filed on her behalf by Gender Justice, a St. Paul-based group. The legal action was filed in Aitkin County District Court and asserts that both pharmacies discriminated against Anderson on the basis of sex and that the pharmacies’ refusal to give her the drug violates the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Anderson said she received a prescription for an emergency contraceptive drug called Ella last year after the birth control she was using with her partner had failed. She said she did not want to have more children, and got a prescription for the drug from her health care provider.

At Thrifty White, she encountered George Badeaux, a pharmacist who also works as a pastor at a local church. Although Badeaux refused to fill the prescription, Matt Hutera, who owns the Thrifty White, said he has since informed Badeaux that he must fill all prescriptions given to him.

The pharmacist at the CVS has not been named. CVS, a national drug store chain, said its policy is to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception and it is looking into the matter.