20 Berkeley J. Gender L. & Just. 229 (2005)
Obstacles to Access: How Pharmacist Refusal Clauses Undermine the Basic Health Care Needs of Rural and Low-Income Women

handle is hein.journals/berkwolj20 and id is 235 raw text is: Obstacles to Access:
How Pharmacist Refusal Clauses Undermine
the Basic Health Care Needs of Rural and
Low-Income Women
Holly Teliskat
On July 6, 2002, Amanda Renz went to the pharmacy at a K-Mart in
Wisconsin to obtain a refill of her hormonal oral contraceptive.' The only
pharmacist on duty, Neil Noesen, asked Amanda if her prescription would be
used as a contraceptive.2 When she replied affirmatively, Noesen refused to fill
her prescription and would not transfer it to a pharmacist at another store
because he does not believe in the use of contraception.3 By refusing to provide
this woman with timely and appropriate access to contraception, Noesen failed
his duty to serve the patient when he declined to fill the prescription.4 Amanda,
a college student on a low dosage of hormones, missed the first day of her pill
cycle and was subjected to an increased risk of pregnancy and other pregnancy-
related health risks.5
Amanda is only one of many women who have been denied timely access
to contraception. Since May 2004, there have been 180 reported incidents of a
doctor or a pharmacist refusing to provide contraceptive services to women.6
Copyright  2005, The Regents of the University of California.
t.   J.D. Candidate, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley.
I. Complainant's Requested Findings, Conclusions and Discipline, at $ 8, In the Matter of the
Disciplinary Proceedings Against Neil T. Noesen, R.Ph. (2004) (Case No. LS-0310091-
PHM) [hereinafter Complaint Against Noesen].
2. Id. at $ 5, T 11-13; Sarah Sturmon Dale, Can a Pharmacist Refuse to Dispense Birth
Control? TIME, June 7, 2004, at 22.
3.  Id. at   14.
4. Id. at 1 15-16; Brief of Amici Curiae Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin and
NARAL Pro-Choice Wisconsin at 8-9, In the Matter of the Disciplinary Proceedings Against
Neil T. Noesen R.Ph. (2004) (Case No. LS-0310091-PHM) [hereinafter Amici Curiae Brief].
5. Amici Curiae Brief, supra note 4, at 4-8.
6. Kimberlee Roth, Pharmacists, doctors refuse to dispense pill on moral grounds, CHI. TRIB.,

BERKELEY JOURNAL OF GENDER, LAW & JUSTICE

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