When Nicole Mone found herself in the terribly sad situation of carrying an unviable pregnancy, she did not expect her pharmacist to deny her the help she needed.
Nicole’s doctor had broken the devastating news to her that her nine-week-old foetus had ceased developing, meaning she would inevitably suffer a miscarriage.
If she did not take medication to induce the miscarriage, Nicole would have risked contracting a dangerous infection, and so her doctor wrote her a prescription for misoprostol.
However, when she went to pick up the necessary drugs at her local Walgreens pharmacy, the pharmacist denied her her prescription on ‘ethical’ grounds.
Thank you. Nicole Mone should not have been treated that way. Miscarrying is heartrendingly difficult enough but then to treated so callously. Kudos for stepping up to help Nicole.
— Grild Cheez (@grild_cheez) June 23, 2018
The pharmacist denied Nicole her medication on a ‘conscience clause’. This allows pharmacists to deny abortion services on a moral or religious basis, IFL Science! reports.
In the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, and South Dakota, laws are in place which allow pharmacists to legally refuse to dispense emergency contraception.
Nicole has spoken about her painful experience on Facebook, with a post which has been shared over 40,000 times:
I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7 year old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs. I get it we all have our beliefs.
But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over.
He has no idea what its like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be.
I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor.
I am unsure where Walgreens draws the lines with their pharmacist but does this mean he denies women the right to birth control and morning after pill, and what’s the stance with fertility drugs.
I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering. I am in left in disbelief on how this can happen? How is this okay? I can’t be the only one who has gone thru this.
Plenty of people have empathised with Nicole’s heartbreaking situation, and have expressed concern at the pharmacist’s potentially dangerous refusal.
One person commented:
I am also so very sorry for your loss. May the awareness and the strength you have shown thru this be an example of how we don’t just walk away from a situation but fix it for others.
First off I’m so sorry for your loss. Secondly I’m so sorry you had to deal with the ignorance and judgement of this little man. Sending you love.
Walgreens made the following tweet after the upsetting incident:
We reached out to the patient over the weekend, apologizing for how the situation was handled.
We will provide additional training to all of our pharmacists on appropriately handling these situations in accordance with our policy.
After walking out of Walgreens without the misoprostol, Nicole was notified by email her prescription had been transferred and was ready to be collected at another Walgreens pharmacy.
Nicole consulted her GP for their help in ensuring she would not be denied the prescription a second time around. Fortunately, she was able to collect it without any difficulties.
Nicole rang the store manager who appeared displeased with how she had been treated, and has contacted Walgreens corporate office. She has also lodged a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.
We reached out to the patient over the weekend, apologizing for how the situation was handled. We will provide additional training to all of our pharmacists on appropriately handling these situations in accordance with our policy.
— Walgreens (@Walgreens) June 27, 2018
Refusing to serve #nicolemone on moral grounds – a stance within @Walgreens @WAGSocialCare company's rules. What happens if I want to pick up a condom & ur employee says he is #catholic & in religious / moral dilemma against serving pregnancy planning
— Merchant of Madras (@MadrasMan30) June 24, 2018
If you have been affected by any of these issues, then the Child Bereavement UK support team can be contacted by phone 0800 02 888 40 and email: [email protected]
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.