Local woman denied an emergency contraceptive because of Pharmacist's religious beliefs

Published: Sep. 15, 2017 at 6:09 PM CDT
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FREEPORT, Ill. (WIFR) -- A local woman is speaking out after she claims she was denied an emergency contraceptive at a Freeport Walmart.

Jessica Hoeft, a single mother from Forreston, says after calling the Walmart Pharmacy last week to order an emergency contraceptive, the pharmacist refused to sign her paperwork because of his religious beliefs.

Hoeft says placing this type of order already puts a person in a vulnerable state, but after being denied her request, she became angry and didn't feel the pharmacist had the right to make that decision for her. Hoeft says he was keeping something away from her that she needed quickly because it only works for a few days. She says people may need the medication for different reasons, but religious beliefs shouldn't stop her from receiving it.

"Emergency contraceptive is needed, it's an emergency for a reason and I want this to be known, nobody can tell you no, and nobody has any decision over your body. I just want this to be big, this should never happen to anybody, especially women who are in a case of an emergency," say Forreston resident, Jessica Hoeft.

Hoeft says she called the manager and they apologized for the incident, telling her she wasn't the only person who has been denied a medication.

Walmart responded in a statement saying: "We respect our pharmacist's religious beliefs and understand that they conflicted with our customer's needs. We have policies in place to protect our associates in these types of situations while also serving the customer with respect and sensitivity. We are looking into the matter."

Hoeft says she was able to receive the medication from a different pharmacist at the Freeport Walmart the next day.