CBSN

Woman says Meijer pharmacist in Michigan refused to give her miscarriage drug

PETOSKEY, Mich. -- A woman says a Michigan pharmacist refused to fill a prescription to help her complete a miscarriage, telling her it was against his religion. Rachel Peterson of Ionia tells the Detroit Free Press the pharmacist worked at a Meijer store in Petoskey.

She and her husband were in northern Michigan in July following the miscarriage of their twins. Peterson says she intended to fill a prescription to accelerate the miscarriage and avoid infection, but says the pharmacist refused to provide the medication.

Peterson says the pharmacist told her he didn't believe her explanation. A Meijer pharmacist hours away in Ionia agreed to fill the prescription.

In a statement to CBS News, Meijer said: "A pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription based upon religious beliefs.  However, our procedure requires the prescription to then be filled by another pharmacist in the store.  If no other pharmacist is available, the pharmacist must consult with the patient to arrange for the transfer of the prescription to another pharmacy that is convenient to them." 

Meijer spokeswoman Christina Fecher didn't say whether the pharmacist has been disciplined. 

The American Civil Liberties Union is asking Meijer to ensure that another incident doesn't happen. In a letter of complaint, the ACLU identified the pharmacist as Richard Kalkman.

Earlier this year, an Arizona woman said a Walgreen's pharmacist wouldn't give her a prescription to end her pregnancy for ethical reasons.

According to the National Women's Law Center, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi and South Dakota have laws or regulations that allow pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for religious or moral reasons. In Alabama, Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Texas, pharmacists are allowed to refuse but may not obstruct access to the medication. Eight states -- California, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Washington and Wisconsin -- have laws requiring pharmacists to provide medication to patients.

In 29 other states, there are no laws addressing the issue.