Texas pharmacist refuses pill for rape victim
Woman with doctor's prescription for drug turned away
Updated: 6:15 p.m. ET Feb. 03, 2004DALLAS - A Texas pharmacist was disciplined for refusing to fill the prescription of a rape victim seeking a morning-after pregnancy-prevention pill, the pharmacy chain that employed the man said on Tuesday.
Eckerd Corp. said the pharmacist considered it a violation of morals to give a rape victim, with a valid prescription, a pill that would prevent her from getting pregnant due to the sexual assault.
The incident took place on Jan. 23 at an Eckerd drug store in the Dallas suburb of Denton.
Eckerd spokeswoman Joan Gallagher said she could not give details of the disciplinary actions, but that the pharmacist had violated company policy.
"A pharmacist is obliged to fill a prescription if it is a valid, legal prescription," she said. "We do not make exceptions for any moral, religious or ethical concerns with regard to filling the prescription."
Florida-based Eckerd is owned by Texas-based retailer J.C. Penney Co.
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Protesters, carrying signs reading "Got Raped? Let someone else help you" and "Rape violates my morals," have been picketing the store this week.
Kathryn Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of North Texas, said the situation could have been avoided if hospitals in the state mandated emergency contraception in sexual assault cases. Other states stipulate that hospitals must make emergency contraception available to victims of sexual assault, but Texas does not.
"What this pharmacist did was truly outrageous. It forces the woman to relive the assault," said Allen, adding that the prescription in question is essentially a high dose of birth control pills that prevents pregnancy.
The rape victim was able to have her prescription filled at another pharmacy in the area, they said.
Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
I read in another article about this incident that the pharmacist was fired, as Eckerd's policy states that pharmacy staff cannot refuse to fill an Rx based on their personal religious or moral beliefs.