AITKIN, Minn. — A jury on Friday ruled that a central Minnesota pharmacist did not violate a woman’s rights when he refused to provide her emergency contraceptives more than three years ago.
Andrea Anderson, a mother of five from McGregor, sued under the Minnesota Human Rights Act after the pharmacist, based on his religious beliefs, refused to accommodate her request. State law prohibits discrimination based on sex, including issues related to pregnancy and childbirth.
The ruling comes amid national political debate about contraception under federal law, with the US House passing a bill that would guarantee the right to contraception. House Democrats are worried that a conservative US Supreme Court that already erased federal abortion rights could go further and limit the use of contraception.
Leaders with the group Gender Justice, which represented Anderson, said they plan to appeal, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.
“The testimony was so clear that she received lesser services than other customers because what she was going there for was emergency contraception. And so we believe that, by law, that’s discrimination in Minnesota,” said Jess Braverman, legal director for the advocacy group.
Anderson brought her prescription for a morning-after pill to the Thrifty White pharmacy in McGregor in January 2019. Longtime pharmacist George Badeaux told her he could not fill the prescription based on his beliefs.
Anderson eventually got her prescription filled at a pharmacy in Brainerd, making the round-trip of more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) in wintry driving conditions.
Attorneys for Badeaux did not immediately respond to a request for comment.