Do your job: A Walgreens pharmacist in Arizona humiliates and abuses a woman trying to fill a prescription to end her pregnancy.
Nicole Arteaga did not want to end her pregnancy. However, after her doctor informed her that the first trimester fetus she was carrying had stopped growing and didn’t have a heartbeat due to developmental abnormalities, she was given the choice of terminating the pregnancy through surgery or prescription medication. She chose the latter option, and went to Walgreens to fill her prescription.
Yet when she went to her local Walgreens in Peoria, Arizona, to fill her prescription, a cruel and cold-hearted pharmacist refused, claiming that doing his job and filling her prescription were against his personal beliefs.
Arteaga, a school teacher from Peoria, Arizona, wrote about her ordeal in a Facebook post on Friday:
This post isn’t something I generally do, but last night I experienced something no women should ever have to go thru especially under these circumstances or any other circumstances.
I hadn’t planned on telling anyone outside our immediate family but two months we were surprised to find out I was pregnant. After a previous miscarriage the doctor had been monitoring me weekly. Unfortunately on Tuesday we found out the baby’s development had stopped and I ultimately will have a miscarriage. Dr gave me two options D&C or prescription medication. I opted for prescription. Last night I went to pick up my medication at my local Walgreens only to be denied the prescription I need. 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. I get it we all have our beliefs. But what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what its like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be. I left Walgreens in tears, 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. I am unsure where Walgreens draws the lines with their pharmacist but does this mean he denies women the right to birth control and morning after pill, and what’s the stance with fertility drugs. I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering. I am in left in disbelief on how this can happen? How is this okay? I can’t be the only one who has gone thru this. Walgreens
After I walked out of Walgreens Thursday night without my prescription I received email notification that my prescription was ready at location across town. Brian H. ultimately had it transferred to another location that had it in stock after I had left upset. Yesterday morning I went to my see my Dr for his help in making sure that pharmacist at the second location would give it me. I picked up my prescription from that Walgreens with no problems.
I called and spoke to store manager who did not seem happy about what had happened. I have contacted Walgreens corporate office. I have filed a complaint with the Arizona Board of Pharmacy. At this time I have done what I can to report the situation. Thank you to those who have shown love and support.
The poignant post quickly went viral. Many Twitter users are demanding justice, and asking Walgreens to protect customers from deplorable pharmacists like Brian Hreniuc:
.@Walgreens Are you aware that your pharmacist Brian Hreniuc in Peoria, AZ, just treated a client to a loud long anti-choice lecture in refusing to fill her RU486 scrip?He later transferred the scrip as required by law; but you should fire him for his misbehavior to a customer.
— Kelly Kleiman (@KellyNFP) June 23, 2018
If @Walgreens doesn’t fire pharma Brian Hreniuc from their Peoria, AZ store for refusing to provide meds to a woman having a miscarriage, forcing her to explain the need for the meds infront of her daughter & customers, due to his religious beliefs I’m going to @cvspharmacy— MoreTacos LessPants (@SexStuffWthKris) June 23, 2018
@Walgreens I sincerely hope you’ll be releasing a statement confirming u have fired ur pharmacist Mr. Brian Hreniuc after he denied a woman her abortion prescription medication bc of his religious beliefs, humiliating her & severely endangering her in the process. #MyBodyMyChoice
— M E R N I E (@faeriesoon) June 23, 2018
Fire Brian Hreniuc. If you morally object to dispensing medication then you shouldn’t be a pharmacist.
— Finn 2187 (@ruberryfinn) June 23, 2018
Adding insult to injury, Walgreens is defending the deplorable pharmacist who insulted and abused Arteaga because he thought he knew what was best for her and her body, a pharmacist who failed to do his job.
BuzzFeed News reports:
In a statement to BuzzFeed News, Walgreen spokesman James Graham confirmed that company policy “allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection.”
In fact, this is not the first time an abusive pharmacist at Walgreens refused to fill a prescription for a woman in need. Last year a pharmacist at a Walgreens in Albuquerque refused to fill a birth control prescription because of his “personal beliefs.”
Kelli Garcia, director of reproductive justice initiatives and senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, explained to BuzzFeed News that Arizona is one of six U.S. states where pharmacists can refuse to serve customers on religious or ethical grounds.
Note: The fact that six states, including Arizona, allows pharmacists to discriminate against women does not mean that Walgreens must employ such backward and ignorant pharmacists. In fact, smug and condescending pharmacists like Brian Hreniuc, who use their position to place their own prejudice and bias above the health and welfare of women, have no business working in the field at all, in any capacity.
Bottom line: Walgreens should fire Brian Hreniuc, and every pharmacist who refuses to do their job. No woman should have to worry when they go into a pharmacy that they might be turned away, humiliated, and abused by some pharmacist refusing to do his job.