Health Care

#BoycottWalgreens trends after people say they were denied birth control pills, condoms

#BoycottWalgreens trended on Twitter after users shared stories of being denied birth control and condoms by pharmacists with a “moral objection” to their use. 

Abigail Martin, a TikTok creator with almost 900,000 followers, said in a video uploaded on her page earlier this month that a pharmacist told her they will not refill her birth control prescription and she needs to call her medical provider. 

She said her doctor’s office told her that she had four refills left, and they do not know why the pharmacy would not refill the prescription. 

Martin said she then received two texts from Walgreens about her prescription — the first saying that it was delayed and another saying that it was out of stock. 

Martin said she had run out of pills in the time that passed. 

Walgreens said in a tweet in 2018 in response to a question from a user that the company allows pharmacists to “step away” from filing a prescription if they morally object to it, but they should refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager to meet a patient’s needs in a “timely manner.” 

She said she called Walgreens, and another pharmacist told her she could refill her prescription. The pharmacist added that the pharmacy had been having issues with women being refused birth control in the past two weeks. 

“First they want us to stop getting pregnant and having abortions, and then they don’t want to help us prevent that pregnancy,” Martin said. 

Her video has almost 4 million views as of Tuesday. 

The outcry on Twitter comes in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed a constitutional right to abortion. More than a dozen states have moved to ban or severely restrict abortion access following the the high court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. 

Some activists and lawmakers have also expressed concerns that the overturning of Roe could open the floodgates for other landmark cases to be overturned, like Griswold v. Connecticut, which protects access to birth control. 

Fraser Engerman, the senior director of external relations for Walgreens, told The Hill that these types of incidents are uncommon, and the company works to meet the needs of its customers while respecting staff members’ beliefs.

“Instances like this are very rare and our policies are designed to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and customers while respecting the religious and moral beliefs of our team members,” Engerman said. “We require the employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty who will complete the customer’s transaction.”

One Twitter user said on Sunday that her coworker relies on the birth control pill for health issues, but Walgreens declined her refill. 

In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancy, the pill can also have positive effects for health conditions like iron deficiency, infections and some endometrial and ovarian cancers, according to Planned Parenthood. 

Another Twitter user named Nate Pentz said a cashier at Walgreens told his wife, Jess, that he would not sell her condoms because of his faith. The cashier offered to bring a manager over. 

Jess filed a complaint with Walgreens, saying the cashier embarrassed her in front of other customers for her personal choice.

Updated at 3:28 p.m.

Tags Birth control reproductive health care Roe v. Wade Walgreens Walgreens

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