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She was prescribed miscarriage meds because baby had no heartbeat. Pharmacist said no

Nicole Arteaga said she was denied doctor-prescribed medications that would terminate her pregnancy after she found out she was going to have a miscarriage.
Nicole Arteaga said she was denied doctor-prescribed medications that would terminate her pregnancy after she found out she was going to have a miscarriage. File photo

Nicole Arteaga did not plan to tell anyone outside of her immediate family that she was going to have another miscarriage.

But when a Walgreens pharmacist denied her the pills that would terminate the pregnancy, she felt the need to share the story with others on Facebook through her account, Nicole Mone.

The Arizona mom found out on June 19 that her unborn baby's development had stopped and that the pregnancy was going to end in a miscarriage.

She told BuzzFeed News that she was 9-weeks pregnant and her baby did not have a heartbeat. A baby's heart usually begins to beat when about 3- to 4-weeks along, according to The Endowment for Human Development.

Arteaga's doctor gave two options to end the pregnancy: a dilation and curettage procedure, which involves a doctor scraping the tissue out, or a prescription medication that would terminate the pregnancy, according to her post.

She went with the medication. The drug, Misoprostol, would cause her uterus to contract and the fetus to come out, WTSP reported.

"This post isn’t something I generally do, but last night I experienced something no women should ever have to go thru especially under these circumstances," she wrote on Friday. Arteaga went on to explain that when she went to pick up the miscarriage medication on Thursday at Walgreens, the pharmacist denied her prescription.

I don't have control over my body and I don’t have control of the situation," Arteaga told Arizona Central. "I was seeking help for the medication I needed and he refused. I completely lost it and was in tears."

With her 7-year-old son in tow, she had gone to pick up dinner, choose a movie and then pick up her prescription, the Arizona Central reported.

The pharmacist had asked the mom if she was pregnant, BuzzFeed reported, and when she said yes, he would not sell the meds to her.

"I asked him why he wouldn’t sell it to me, and he said, it was his ethics," Arteaga told Buzz Feed.

"I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7 year old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs," she wrote on Facebook.

Arteaga wrote that she understands everyone has their own beliefs, but she said the pharmacist failed to understand she did not have control over the situation.

"He has no idea what its like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so. If you have gone thru a miscarriage you know the pain and emotional roller it can be," she wrote. "I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor."

Arteago said she left Walgreens without her prescription.

The next day, she updated her post to say that the pharmacist, Brian Hreniuc, transferred her prescription to another Walgreens location. It was 20 minutes away in Phoenix, according to BuzzFeed. She was able to pick up her meds there "with no problems."

The Huffington Post could not immediately reach the pharmacist for comment.

James W. Graham, senior manager of media relations for the pharmacy chain, confirmed the incident to WTSP in a statement:

"After learning what happened, we reached out to the patient and apologized for how the situation was handled," the statement says. "To respect the sincerely held beliefs of our pharmacists while at the same time meeting the needs of our patients, our policy allows pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection. At the same time, they are also required to refer the prescription to another pharmacist or manager on duty to meet the patient's needs in a timely manner. We are looking into the matter to ensure that our patients' needs are handled properly."

Arizona is one of six states that have passed laws allowing pharmacists to deny filling emergency contraception drug prescriptions on moral grounds.

Arteaga said she has filed a complaint to the Arizona Board of Pharmacy.

"I share this story because I wish no other women have to go thru something like this at time when you are vulnerable and already suffering," she wrote. "I am in left in disbelief on how this can happen? How is this okay?"

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis meets with a group of women to discuss abortion, women's health coverage, Planned Parenthood and fetal tissue research funding.

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