Two advocacy organizations filed discrimination complaints against an Albuquerque Walgreens pharmacy for allegedly refusing to fill a birth control prescription. The complaint, sent to the New Mexico Human Rights Bureau, was written by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and the Southwest Women’s Law Center. The organizations allege a pharmacy employee at a store on Coors Boulevard refused to fill a misoprostol prescription to a teenage woman who was at the store with her mother last August, citing personal reasons. This refusal, according to two complaints, violates the New Mexico Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination based on sex. “Refusing to fill prescriptions that are directly tied to the attributes that make women different from men—i.e. the ability to become pregnant—constitutes sex discrimination,” the complaints read.
[box type=”info” style=”rounded”]DR. ANDRE HUFFMIRE is a family practice physician working in Albuquerque and Grants.[/box]
Imagine that you’ve scheduled an appointment with your doctor: you show up at the office, are ushered into the examining room, and wait to be seen. The door opens and, instead of your trusted family physician, in walks your state legislator. They tell you they are personally opposed to the procedure you are about to get and passed a law in the most recent legislative session banning it. Your doctor can now face a fine or lose their license if he or she provides you with the care you need. This may sound extreme, but when politicians pass laws to ban or restrict access to medical procedures like abortion, they are inserting themselves into a sacred relationship between patient and doctor and disregarding a woman’s ability to make important reproductive healthcare decisions.