When Nicole Arteaga found out she was pregnant two months ago, she and her husband were ecstatic. But after suffering a previous miscarriage, the couple was hesitant to tell anyone.
On Friday, however, the grief-stricken mother reached out to friends and family on Facebook, sharing news of her pregnancy, along with the heartbreaking discovery that the baby's development had stopped.
According to her post, Arteaga was given two options: Let the doctors perform a D&C (a surgical procedure to remove the contents of her uterus) or take a prescription to end her pregnancy. She chose the latter of the two. However, when she arrived at Walgreens to pick up her medication, Arteaga said the pharmacist refused to fill the prescription.
"Last night, I went to pick up my medication at my local Walgreens only to be denied the prescription I need," the Arizona mom wrote on Facebook. "I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs."
"(He) asks me if I'm pregnant, which I say yes, and he tells me, 'I'm not giving you this one. I can't give you this one,'" she told AZ Family.
Her post, which has now been shared more than 35,000 times, goes on to say that this wasn't something she wanted; it was something she had "zero control over"—a "roller coaster" of emotional pain that no woman should have to go through.
Despite understanding his beliefs—"we all have them," she wrote—Arteaga added, "He has no idea what it's like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so."
He has no idea what it's like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so.
Ultimately, she left the store in tears, feeling "ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor."
Arteaga said she did what she could to “report the situation.” In addition to contacting store management and Walgreens' corporate office, she filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy. Walgreens later issued this statement:
"After learning what happened, we reached out to the patient and apologized for how the situation was handled. To respect the sincerely held beliefs of our pharmacists while at the same time meeting the needs of our patients, our policy allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection. At the same time, they are also required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient's needs in a timely manner. We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients' needs are handled properly.”
Though her prescription was later transferred to another location for pickup without incident, Arteaga's post has since sparked a discussion about ethics, women's rights and moral beliefs.