My experience with miscarriage was jarringly prolonged. Nothing I’d read or seen of depictions of women’s lives had prepared me for the ongoing months of bleeding that followed the experience, and words cannot express my fear, distress and dread of each new day’s unpredictable developments. My doctor chose to assist me in managing the prolonged bleeding without prescribing drugs, for a variety of reasons, but she did suggest that anti-bleeding drugs might help reduce both the bleeding and my resultant stress.
When I recall that painful time, my heart goes out to the Idaho woman who went to a local Walgreen’s to get just such a prescription filled, and whose pharmacist refused to fill it because it violated her conscience to do so. If you are wondering how helping a woman with her stressful and taxing experience of suffering from prolonged bleeding could violate anyone’s conscience, then remember that prolonged bleeding doesn’t just happen to “good” women like me who wanted their pregnancies! No, no, my friends. Prolonged bleeding can also happen to women who may have sought out abortions. I emphasize MAY, because when the pharmacist called the referring nurse practitioner to ask the reason for needing the prescription (!!!), the NP responded that the information was confidential:
The nurse says she cited federal patient privacy laws and refused to answer.
“The pharmacist said, ‘Well, if you’re not going to tell me that and she had an abortion, I’m not going to fill this prescription.’ And then our practitioner said, ‘Why don’t you tell me another pharmacy that I can call or another pharmacist that can dispense this medication for my patient?’ And the pharmacist hung up on her,” said Kristen Glundberg-Prosser of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest.
This past Wednesday, Planned Parenthood responded by filing a complaint with the Idaho pharmacy board. The pharmacist, who refused her services in November 2010, apparently felt she was within the scope of a revised “conscience law” passed in Idaho which became effective in July 2010, and extended to pharmacists, among others, the refusal of health care services that violate an individual’s conscience. Planned Parenthood suggests that the pharmacist overstepped the terms of the conscience law.
I am relieved that I have recovered my health with the aid and support of health care professionals who took seriously their responsibilities as my providers of information and access to what I needed to get better. I cannot imagine, as I look back on my own prolonged bleeding experience, how I would have felt if I had also been burdened with a pharmacist who found my very trauma to be a suspicious indicator of a violation of her conscience, rather than a serious and chronic health problem that she was well positioned to alleviate. And I look forward to using her statement in logic class, as an example of a conditional whose antecedent was a problematic conjunction!