Rachel Peterson was denied a medication for miscarriage by a religious pharmacist in Petoskey, Michigan.
In July, Peterson suffered a miscarriage and was prescribed by her physician a medication called misoprostol. The drug used to treat postpartum bleeding and stomach ulcers was vital to prevent her from experiencing complications and surgery.
The prescription was specifically created for Meijer in Petoskey where she had been spending her vacation. However, she received a call from Richard Kalkman, Meijer’s pharmacist telling her that he couldn’t “in good conscience” provide the medicine because he was “a good Catholic male.” Kalkman’s comment came after his assumption that she wanted to take it to abort her pregnancy.
Peterson also said that Kalkman did not allow her to speak to another pharmacist nor his supervisor. As such, she drove more than three hours to a different Meijer store that filled the prescription. “When you’re at one of the lowest moments of your life, you don’t expect this sort of demeaning treatment,” she said.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), via a letter of complaint, demanded Meijer a clear policy that requires their pharmacists to fill prescriptions no matter their religious opinions.
Merissa Kovach, ACLU Michigan’s policy strategist said that Peterson was discriminated because of her gender. She also claimed that “had the customer been a man prescribed the same medication, that is also commonly used to treat ulcers, the pharmacist would have filled it.”
A spokesperson of the retail company said in an interview that “while we cannot comment on any specific customer matter, we apologize for any customer experience that does not align with our core values”.