Meijer: Pharmacist in miscarriage med dispute no longer works here

The Detroit News

The Meijer pharmacist who the American Civil Liberties Union accused of denying a Michigan woman a prescription to complete her miscarriage is no longer with the company, a representative confirmed Thursday.

In an email to The Detroit News, spokeswoman Christina Fecher did not address whether the worker at a Petoskey store resigned or was terminated, but said he has not been employed by Meijer since early July 2018.

Rachel Peterson and her husband Robby with their rescue dogs Hector and Dikta at their home in Ionia.

"While we cannot comment on any pharmacy customer matter, we apologize for any customer experience that does not align with our core values," she wrote.

The pharmacist's departure came shortly after Rachel Peterson alleges she sought to fill a prescription her physician issued July 1 for misoprostol, a medication commonly used to treat ulcers, start labor or for miscarriages.

The 35-year-old, who was in her first trimester while on vacation with family, said her doctor called in the order and advised Peterson that the medication had to be taken quickly to avoid having to undergo a more invasive surgical procedure. 

Peterson claims the pharmacist at the Meijer on Lears Road told her “as a good Catholic male,” he could not “in good conscience fill the prescription” since he believed it was her intention to use it to end a pregnancy. 

She alleges he refused to let her speak to another pharmacist or transfer her prescription to another pharmacy, forcing her to rely on another Meijer pharmacy to transfer the medication to Ionia.

Fecher has said a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription based on religious beliefs. However, they must hand off the prescription to be filled by another pharmacist. 

The policy is consistent with the American Pharmacist Association and Michigan Pharmacist Association guidelines.

The ACLU has requested an immediate investigation and called on Meijier to establish a new policy to ensure patients have access to prescribed medication.

"We’re focused on working with Meijer to ensure that the policy moving forward is enforced so that all customers are able to get the same service regardless of who they are and what their prescription is, and to ensure that what happened to Rachel Peterson doesn’t happen to anyone else down the road," said Merissa Kovach, a policy strategist for the ACLU of Michigan, on Thursday.