An Aitkin County jury determined on Friday that a pharmacist’s refusal to provide emergency contraception to a woman because of his religious convictions did not constitute a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The jury did decide that McGregor resident Andrea Anderson is entitled to $25,000 in emotional damages from the pharmacist, though.
By “denying her treatment as a result of her pregnancy-related health care demands,” Anderson alleged in her complaint that a pharmacist in 2019 had unlawfully discriminated against her based on sex.
On January 20, 2019, Anderson’s primary birth control method—a condom—failed while they were having sex. Anderson’s physician gave her the emergency contraceptive “Ella” and asked for the prescription to be sent to the Thrifty White Pharmacy in McGregor, Minnesota.
The lawsuit claims that Anderson’s principal pharmacy was Thrifty White, the sole drugstore in McGregor.
“George Badeaux, the Thrifty White pharmacy’s on-call pharmacist, called Anderson. Badeaux informed Anderson that he would be unable to fill her prescription for “personal reasons,” “the complaint said. Badeaux explained that he refused to fill Anderson’s prescription because of “[his] convictions.”
The complaint said that he failed to specify his views or the manner in which they affected his capacity to carry out his duties as a medical practitioner.
According to the complaint, when Anderson talked with Matt Hutera, the store’s owner, he said he “did not agree with Badeaux, but he’s a pastor” in the area. Hutera did not suggest that Badeaux would face any consequences despite the fact that this was not the first time he had declined to fill prescriptions.
In the end, Anderson had to travel more than 100 miles roundtrip in the middle of a snowstorm to a Walgreens more than 50 miles from her house, according to the lawsuit.