A Minnesota pharmacist is on trial after denying a mother of five a contraceptive prescription.
George Badeaux, the pharmacist in chief at Thrifty White drugstore in McGregor, Minnesota is accused of violating the mom’s civil rights by refusing to fill the emergency order.
The pharmacist and drugstore are being sued under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination, including discrimination based on pregnancy or childbirth.
In January 2019, Andrea Anderson of McGregor (population 391) went to the only drugstore in town to get a prescription for Ella, a “morning-after” contraceptive, after a condom failed during intercourse. Citing his “beliefs,” Badeaux refused the prescription, according to the complaint filed in Aitkin County District Court.
“Badeaux informed her that there would be another pharmacist working the next day, who might be willing to fill the medication but that he could not guarantee that they would help,” the complaint states.
Badeaux also warned Anderson against trying to get the prescription filled at a Shopko pharmacy in a nearby town, and refused to tell her where else she could try, as required by state law, the complaint continues.
According to Anderson, another pharmacist at a CVS in the city of Aitkin also blocked her from getting the prescription filled. The complaint states she traveled 100 miles round trip, “while a massive snowstorm was headed to central Minnesota,” to get the prescription filled at a Walgreens in the town of Brainerd.
Anderson is represented by lawyers from Gender Justice, based in St. Paul.
In testimony this week, Baldeux stated: “I’m a Christian. I believe in God. I love God. I try to live the way He would want me to live. That includes respecting every human being.”
In a pretrial order, Aitkin County District Judge David Hermerding ruled Badeaux’s religious rights are not at issue.
Under the law, the crux of the case “is whether [Badeaux] deliberately misled, obfuscated and blocked Ms. Anderson’s path to obtaining Ella,” the judge ruled.
Thrifty White’s owner, Matt Hutera, testified that Anderson’s was the only prescription for Ella that was ever requested in his 11 years at the store.
Hutera admitted under cross-examination that no other drug would be refused because of a pharmacist’s conscientious objection, an indication Anderson’s sex was key in Badeux’s denial of service.
Badeaux trial’s, which began on Monday, comes in the aftermath of the US Supreme Court overruling Roe v. Wade, which has led some to question the constitutionality of birth control.
Senator Marsha Blackburn has called the 1965 Supreme Court case which legalized access to birth control, Griswold v. Connecticut, “constitutionally unsound.”
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would guarantee the right to contraception under federal law.