Activism, Protests & Rights

Walgreen’s Pharmacist Refused to Fill a Woman’s Birth Control Because it was “Against His Religion”

Recently a pharmacist at the Walgreens Pharmacy at 10300 Central Ave SE in Albuquerque, NM, refused to fill customer Susanne Koestner’s prescription for birth control because it was “against his religion.” The ACLU of New Mexico has stepped in and posted a petition online for those of you who would like to sign it.

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico says Koestner’s difficulty getting birth control medication amounts to sex discrimination because Mononessa is a contraceptive for females.

Pharmacist denies meds because religion


The Incident of Refusal

Susanne Koestner, 32, from Albuquerque NM, requested a refill of her birth control medication she has been taking for eight years called Mononessa. I can only imagine how shocked she was to have the pharmacist at the 10300 Central Ave SE location deny her a refill due to his own personal religious beliefs. Susanne ended up scrambling around and have the prescription filled at another location.

I was shocked to find out that this is an acceptable practice by Walgreens!

A spokesman for Walgreens said the company’s policy requires pharmacists who refuse to fill a prescription to make arrangements to have it filled “at a nearby pharmacy” or at a time when another pharmacist is on duty.

“We do allow pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription to which they have a moral objection,” a Walgreen Co. spokesman Jim Graham in Illinois said in a written statement. The policy also requires the pharmacist to refer the patient to another pharmacist, he said.

I am completely shocked that any pharmacist is allowed to do this! If someone has a moral objection to certain medications for whatever reason – then they should not be a pharmacist! End of story. The store carries condoms – is that not birth control? Although it is a rather weak comparison, if someone has an objection to birth control due to their religion, then condoms fall into the exact same category. So why, then, is this very pharmacist working for a company that sells condoms? And they are probably located very near the pharmacy window as that is typically where they are stocked.

Our country is going completely insane. If the pharmacist is against birth control then fine, don’t use it. But he/she has no right to deny another person their right to use birth control. This goes with anything… please, keep your religious beliefs to yourself and your family.

And I am now boycotting Walgreens and moving my prescriptions to a locally owned pharmacy.


ACLU Petition
ABQ Journal:  ACLU In on Birth Control Fight
KRQE:  Pharmacist denies meds because religion

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14 replies »

  1. What if, in some parallel universe, a Jehovah’s Witness became a pharmacist. Would he be able to object to selling ALL medications? Used to be that we kept our religious beliefs out of the workplace. Maybe this pharmacist should change his profession to, say, a lay minister in some backwoods little church where his views would be more appreciated!

    • Sounds good to me! He shouldn’t be a pharmacist if birth control is against his religion. Think how many women get prescriptions… I do, but it is also for medical reasons, in addition to not getting pregnant. I’m 47 going on 48. Having a baby now, unmarried, would be risky for both myself and the baby.

  2. I am signing. I am so with you on this issue. What happened to seperation of church and state? Geez louise…..

  3. Walgreen’s needs to change their policy. I will never use that pharmacy and I’m not on birth control but If I was, i’d be very upset that i’d have to take extra time out of my day to go to another pharmacy for my script.

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