By Michelle Watson, CNN
A pharmacist in McGregor, Minnesota, refused to fill a woman’s morning-after pill prescription because it violated his “beliefs,” a lawsuit alleges.
When Andrea Anderson’s first contraception method failed in January 2019, she turned to ella, otherwise known as the “morning after pill” or emergency contraception, to prevent a possible pregnancy, the suit filed in Atkin County, Minnesota, said. McGregor, Minnesota, is roughly 122 miles north of Minneapolis.
Anderson got a prescription and had her doctor send it to the only pharmacy in the area at that time, the McGregor Thrifty White pharmacy, according to the court document.
But when she got to the pharmacy, according to the suit, “the pharmacist on duty told her that he would be unable to fill her prescription because of his ‘beliefs.’”
George Badeaux, the pharmacist, told Anderson that due to “personal reasons” he would not fill her prescription, the suit said.
Badeaux “did not clarify what his beliefs were or why they interfered with his ability to perform his job as a medical professional,” according to the complaint.
The pharmacy’s owner would later tell Anderson that he didn’t “agree with” Badeaux’s refusal to fill the prescription, but that Badeaux was a local pastor, according to the suit.
Attorneys for Badeaux and the pharmacy did not return CNN’s requests for comment this week.
After trying multiple pharmacies, Anderson eventually found one that would fill her prescription more than 50 miles away from where she lived, as a snowstorm was headed toward central Minnesota, the suit said.
She “drove over 100 miles round trip in the snowstorm in order to fill her prescription. While the drive normally takes over two hours round trip, that day it took over three hours in light of the storm,” the complaint said.
The complaint argues that Badeaux, along with Thrifty White, violated Minnesota’s Human Rights Act. Anderson is asking for punitive and monetary damages to be determined by a jury.
Jury selection began August 1, according to a court docket.
After the US Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24 2022, reproductive rights activists across the country have questioned whether contraceptive measures may be threatened, especially after Justice Clarence Thomas wrote that a ruling on that right — among others — should be revisited.
The House voted 228-195 on July 21 to pass a bill that would guarantee access to contraception by protecting the right to buy and use contraceptives without government restriction. It is unclear whether the bill can pass the Senate where at least 10 Republicans are needed to side with Democrats to overcome the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold.
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