Mom Sues Pharmacist Whose 'Beliefs' Kept Him From Doling Out Meds

Andrea Anderson had to try 3 Minnesota pharmacies before she could get morning-after pill in 2019
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2022 10:16 AM CDT
Pharmacist Wouldn't Give Her Morning-After Pill. She's Suing
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/areeya_ann)

In January 2019, during sex with her partner of more than 10 years, Andrea Anderson discovered the condom they were using had broken, and she immediately got a prescription for Ella, an emergency contraceptive that delays or stops ovulation—i.e., the morning-after pill, which doesn't end a pregnancy but prevents one from starting if it's taken within five days of unprotected sex. Getting that Rx filled, however, was no easy feat, and now the Minnesota woman is testifying at a trial over her lawsuit against two local pharmacies that wouldn't hand over the meds. Per the Washington Post, Anderson, a mom of five and licensed foster parent, says in her complaint filed in December 2019 that her first pharmacy visit, to Thrifty White Pharmacy in McGregor, ended up in a confrontation with the man working behind the counter, George Badeaux, who's also a local pastor.

Anderson says in her suit—filed citing the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, including on matters related to pregnancy and childbirth, per the AP—that Badeaux wouldn't dispense the medication to her, claiming it was against his "beliefs." "He did not clarify what his beliefs were or why they interfered with his ability to perform his job as a medical professional," Anderson's complaint notes. He also "did not provide Anderson with information about where or how she could get her prescription filled." The suit notes that Anderson next tried to get the prescription filled at a CVS in Aitkin, which also rebuffed her. The pharmacist there called a Walgreens in Brainerd for Anderson and claimed that the Walgreens informed her they also wouldn't fill the prescription.

Anderson later found out that's not what the Walgreens pharmacist had said and that she actually could get her prescription filled there. She says in her complaint—which names Thrifty White, Badeaux, and CVS as defendants—that she made the 100-mile round trip to Brainerd in a snowstorm with her toddler in the car, a journey that took more than three hours. At the trial for the case that began Monday in Aitkin County District Court, Anderson testified that "I felt like I was being watched and judged" as she tried to get the Ella, and that her privacy continues to be invaded even in the courtroom proceedings, where lawyers have questioned her on the endometriosis she suffers from, the therapy she's sought, and even her sex life, per the Star Tribune. "I'm hoping that no pharmacist will ever be able to do this to anybody again," she told the court on Tuesday. The trial is expected to wrap up this week. (Read more morning after pill stories.)

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