Customers claim Walgreens pharmacists are denying them birth control pills, condoms
(The Hill) – Users on Twitter and other social media platforms were urging their followers to #BoycottWalgreens after multiple would-be Walgreens customers claimed they were denied birth control or condoms by pharmacists who morally objected 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 would not refill her birth control prescription, telling her she needed to call her medical provider.
She said her doctor’s office told her that she had four refills left, and did 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.
But by this point, Martin had run out of pills, she said.
Martin again called Walgreens, and this time another pharmacist told her she could refill her prescription. This pharmacist added that this particular location 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 more than 3.8 million views as of Thursday.
Walgreens had previously said in a 2018 tweet that the company allows pharmacists to “step away” from filing a prescription if they morally object to it, but that those same pharmacists are required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager to meet a patient’s needs in a “timely manner.”
Fraser Engerman, the senior director of external relations for Walgreens, also shared a statement with The Hill, claiming that 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.”
Still, other Twitter users came forward with similar claims. One said on Sunday that her coworker relies on birth control pills 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.
The backlash against Walgreens, meanwhile, 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 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.