Last week a Georgia woman named Brittany Cartrett learned that she had a miscarriage. If that experience wasn’t traumatic enough, poor Brittany was then turned away by a Walmart pharmacist because she “didn’t believe there was any need” for Brittany to have the prescription for misoprostol filled. Misoprostol is a drug that is used for women that miscarry so they do not have to have an invasive surgery to remove the dead fetus – the drug is also used to terminate early pregnancies. Although the pharmacist denies that she refused to fill the prescription because of religious reasons, its exactly what one of Georgia’s laws allows: a pharmacist can refuse services “based on religious or personal beliefs.”
The law is so broad in fact that a pharmacist in Georgia can refuse to fill a prescription for any reason. Let me say that again, a pharmacist can refuse to fill a prescription for ANY reason. The law says only, “It shall not be considered unprofessional conduct for any pharmacist to refuse to fill any prescription based on his/her professional judgment or ethical or moral beliefs.” I couldn’t agree more with what Amanda Marcotte wrote for Slate, “Appointing a bunch of busybody pharmacists as informal judges over whether you are emptying your uterus for the right reasons is a terrible idea that only compounds the pain of a miscarriage.”
It is not for a pharmacist to decide what a person needs medically (that’s what doctors are for), and that is why laws that seek to protect so-called religious freedom need to be repealed. Religious Freedom laws erode the progress we’ve made toward income and social equality. Laws are in place to take out the ambiguity and need for personal judgement in everyday occurrences. Religious Freedom laws blur the lines and grant people the right to discriminate legally – which is a huge and fatal step in the wrong direction.
As you know I’ve been writing a lot about the discrimination hate-law or the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in Indiana and Arkansas lately. So its no surprise that I came cross a new book by journalist + broadcaster Michelangelo Signorile. The book is entitled It’s Not Over and Michelangelo makes the case that equal rights for LGBT people is far from over – and the recent strides made in marriage equality do not mean the fight has been won. I believe the nonsense going on in Indiana + Arkansas is a testament that Michelangelo is absolutely right.
Obviously, I agree with Michelangelo that true equality is still far from reach. Recently, an Indiana Pizza parlor called Memories Pizza publicly said it wouldn’t cater same-sex weddings on religious ground, which RFRA now legally allows in Indiana. Undoubtedly there has been a tremendous backlash directed at the pizza parlor. Everything from negative reviews on Yelp + a Twitter war. One high school coach was suspended for suggesting the pizza parlor be burned down.
The backlash got so intense, that the family-owned business was forced to close their doors (for now). Which then spawned a GoFundMe campaign for the hateful establishment. The campaign has now raised almost a million dollars. I think the fact that people would financially support such hate and bigotry shows that now more than ever we need to ban together to ensure true equality for every American.
In response to Memories Pizza GoFundMe campaign, Equality House decided to set up its own fundraiser to help raise money for the LGBT community. The program’s “Virtual Pizza” fundraiser on CrowdRise is collecting money for homeless LGBT youth who have been displaced from their homes because of bigotry. The group has raised more than $40,000 so far. Please visit and donate if you can!
I was lucky enough to be selected to sit and listen to Rosie O’Donnell interview Michelangelo on his new book It’s Not Over last week at SiriusXM. It was an amazing experience and here is a pic for proof 😉