AITKIN, Minn. — A jury ruled Friday that a central Minnesota pharmacist did not violate a woman’s rights when he refused to provide her with emergency contraceptives more than three years ago.
Andrea Anderson, a McGregor mother of five, sued under Minnesota human rights law after the pharmacist, because of his religious beliefs, refused to respond to her request. State law prohibits discrimination based on gender, including matters related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The decision comes amid a national political debate over contraception under federal law, with the US House passing a bill that would guarantee the right to contraception. House Democrats fear that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that has already struck down federal abortion rights could go further and limit contraceptive use.
Leaders of the group Gender Justice, which represented Anderson, said they planned to appeal, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
“The testimony was so clear that she was getting fewer services than other clients because she was going there for emergency contraception. And so we think, by law, that’s discrimination in Minnesota,” said Jess Braverman, the advocacy group’s legal director.
Anderson took his prescription for a morning after pill to McGregor’s Thrifty White Pharmacy in January 2019. Longtime pharmacist George Badeaux told him he couldn’t fill the prescription due to his beliefs.
Anderson eventually had her prescription filled at a pharmacy in Brainerd, driving the more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) round trip in winter driving conditions.
Lawyers for Badeaux did not immediately respond to a request for comment.