Gender Justice alleges sex discrimination in pharmacy’s refusal to fill emergency contraception prescription

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2023

CONTACT
Gabbi Pierce, Communications Manager
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651.789.2090

Saint Paul, Minn.—

In a hearing today before the Minnesota Court of Appeals, attorneys for a woman who was denied emergency contraception by a pharmacist argued that the pharmacy and the pharmacist’s actions constitute illegal sex discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Gender Justice and co-counsel Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP filed the lawsuit, known as Anderson v. Thrifty White, in 2019 on behalf of Andrea Anderson, a mother and foster parent. Mr. Badeaux, the lead pharmacist at McGregor Pharmacy (formerly Thrifty White), told Ms. Anderson that he would not fill her doctor’s prescription for the emergency contraceptive, Ella, based on his personal beliefs.

“No one in Minnesota should have to worry that their pharmacist will withhold their prescribed medication because of his personal beliefs. It is not only dangerous, it is illegal.” said Jess Braverman, senior staff attorney for Gender Justice.

“All businesses in the state of Minnesota must provide full and equal services to their customers. We’re asking this court to protect others from the kind of discrimination Ms. Anderson experienced by making clear that by denying Ms. Anderson her medication, the pharmacy broke the law.”

In August 2022, an Aitkin County jury found that while discrimination under the law had not occurred, the pharmacist-in-charge caused Ms. Anderson emotional harm and awarded damages in the amount of $25,000. Because the verdict failed to protect other patients from what Gender Justice believes is clearly illegal sex discrimination, the organization appealed the decision to ensure that all patients can safely get the care they need and that their doctors have prescribed.

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