An Aitkin County jury found that a pharmacist did not violate a patient’s rights when he refused to fill a prescription for emergency contraception.
In 2019, Minnesota advocacy group Gender Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Andrea Anderson, who went to what was then a Thrifty White pharmacy to fill a prescription for the morning-after pill.
The pharmacist, George Badeaux, refused to fill the prescription, citing his Christian beliefs.
In his testimony, Badeaux said he was not trying to prevent Anderson from accessing emergency contraception, but that he wanted to be "excused" from filling it, arguing that he objects to any medication that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Earlier in the trial, the jury heard testimony from an expert who said the current medical consensus is that pregnancy doesn't begin until a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall.
Thrifty White pharmacy is now McGregor Pharmacy.
Gender Justice alleged that Badeaux’s actions violated Anderson’s rights under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
The case went to trial last week. And on Friday, a jury found that Badeaux did not violate Anderson’s rights.
Gender Justice says it will appeal the decision in the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
“To be clear, the law in Minnesota prohibits sex discrimination and that includes refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception,” said Gender Justice Legal Director Jess Braverman in a statement.
“We will appeal this decision and won’t stop fighting until Minnesotans can get the health care they need without the interference of providers putting their own personal beliefs ahead of their legal and ethical obligations to their patients.”
The jury did award Anderson $25,000 for emotional harm she suffered during the incident.