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VERIFY: Can pharmacists refuse to fill prescriptions?

Two incidents of a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription have made the news lately. Legal experts say only one of those refusals was legal under Arizona law.
Credit: ACLU Arizona
Hilde Hall. (Photo: ACLU Arizona)

PHOENIX - After two incidents of a pharmacist refusing to fill a prescription, 12 News is verifying what a pharmacist can legally refuse to do.

Hilde Hall, a transgender woman, said she tried to fill a hormone replacement prescription at a CVS pharmacy back in April. Hall said the pharmacist refused without giving an explanation.

And Nicole Arteaga said a Walgreen's pharmacist refused to fill a prescription for a medication that would cause a miscarriage. Arteaga's doctor had prescribed the medication after Arteaga's child stopped developing.

But legal experts say there's a difference between those two cases: Arizona law says one is legal.

Arizona law says a pharmacist is allowed to refuse to fill a prescription based on moral or religious grounds, but only when it comes to abortion.

Arizona law does not say anything about moral or religious objections to any other medications, like gender transition hormones.

Under state law, a pharmacist can not refuse to fill a prescription for anything other than an abortion, something attorney Emma Chalvrus said has been tested in court.

"it does not abrogate a woman's right to an abortion," she said. "So Roe v. Wade is upheld. That woman's right is still intact."

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