Minnesota jury: Woman wasn’t entitled to morning-after pill

AITKIN, Minnesota — 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 mother of five from McGregor, was charged under the Minnesota Human Rights Act after the pharmacist, based on his religious beliefs, refused to comply with her request. State law prohibits gender discrimination, including issues related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The ruling comes amid a national political debate about contraception under federal law, with the US House passing a bill that would guarantee the right to contraception. House Democrats worry that a conservative U.S. Supreme Court that has already erased federal abortion rights could go further and restrict contraceptive use.

Leaders of the Gender Justice group, which Anderson represented, said they plan to appeal, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“The testimony was so clear that she got fewer services than other clients because she went there for emergency contraception. And so we believe that’s discrimination under the law in Minnesota,” said Jess Braverman, legal director of 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 couldn’t 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.

Badeaux’s lawyers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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