A Minnesota jury found that a pharmacy did not discriminate against a woman by refusing to give her the morning after pill.
The pharmacist cited the creed as the reason for refusing to fill the prescription for emergency contraception. Although the jury decided that the woman’s rights were not violated, they said the emotional damage caused by the decision amounted to $25,000.
Gender Justice, a nonprofit legal advocacy organization, filed a lawsuit on Andrea Anderson’s behalf in 2019, although the case didn’t go to trial until Monday.
Anderson was denied next-day birth control bills by many pharmacies and said she would have to travel a total of 100 miles to get a pill.
In a statement released by Gender Justice, she expressed concern about the precedent set by the jury’s decision and the message it gives to other women seeking emergency contraception.
What if they accept the decision of the pharmacists and do not realize that this behavior is wrong? What if they have no other choice? Anderson said. Not everyone has the means or ability to travel hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled.
Unfortunately, very personal health decisions such as getting pregnant and growing your family are highly politicized, said Jess Braverman, legal director of Gender Justice. It is illegal sex discrimination in the State of Minnesota for a pharmacist to refuse to dispense emergency contraception without, at the very least, ensuring that a patient can obtain their prescription without delay and at no additional cost to him.
The verdict follows a June Supreme Court decision to strike down the constitutional right to abortion originally protected in the Roe v. Wade case.
Minnesota still legally allows abortions after Roe’s overthrow and permanently blocked many medically unnecessary restrictions in July.
Friday’s jury decision coincided with Indiana imposing a near-total abortion ban, the first state to do so after Roe’s overthrow.
Following the passage of this law, pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly said it would be forced to plan for greater job growth outside of our home country.
We are concerned that this law will hamper Lillys and Indiana’s ability to attract diverse scientific, technical and business talent from around the world, he said.
Some traditionally conservative states such as West Virginia and South Carolina continue to debate how to change their abortion laws.
Last week, in the first national referendum on abortion since the Supreme Court’s ruling, Kansas voters rejected an amendment to their state’s constitution protecting abortion rights.
The surprise victory was celebrated as a testament to the desire for abortion rights across the country, even in Republican-leaning states.
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