When Brittany Cartrett needed the drug Misoprostol to help her complete a miscarriage and avoid a more invasive surgical procedure, two separate pharmacies in central Georgia refused to fill the prescription. Cartrett suspects they refused because, in addition to treating miscarriage, Misoprostol is used for medication abortions.

Unfortunately, Cartrett is not alone. After she posted about her experience on Facebook other women came forward with similar stories. One woman wrote:

“The pharmacist proceeded to lecture me about how I needed to verify I wasn’t pregnant first before taking it! I was already in tears (it wasn’t my first miscarriage) and she was clueless. After explaining the situation, she said she needed to speak to my doctor personally in order to fill it. I opted for a [a surgical procedure to remove a miscarried pregnancy] the following morning instead just to get it off my mind and over with.”

This is shameful. Women should not be denied healthcare because of another’s beliefs. Yet, Georgia is among six states that specifically allow pharmacists to refuse to provide any medication to patients. It doesn’t even require that pharmacists refer the customer elsewhere or transfer the prescription.

And, it’s not just pharmacists who refuse to provide care. Religiously affiliated hospitals have denied women medically appropriate treatment [PDF] for miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. Rape survivors have been denied emergency contraception in the ER. A pediatrician even recently refused to see a newborn because she had two mothers.

A provider’s personal beliefs should not be allowed to dictate whether someone gets the healthcare they need. It shouldn’t matter who a person is, what medical care they need, or why they need it. As Cartrett stated, “I shouldn’t have to come up here and explain myself or why I need any kind of medication.” Women deserve healthcare not lectures.

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