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A Woman Who Had A Miscarriage Was Denied Access To Her Prescription Because Of A Pharmacist’s Beliefs

When a doctor told Nicole Arteaga that the 9-week old fetus she was carrying had stopped developing and had died, he also told her that she had two options. Her doctor told her that she could have a surgical procedure to remove the fetal tissue from her uterus or she could take misoprostol, a medication typically used to end lost pregnancies. Either way, despite having eagerly anticipated a healthy pregnancy that would contrast to a previous one which had also ended in a miscarriage, the doctor emphasized that her most recent pregnancy was not going to be successfully carried to term.

Faced with the devastating news, Arteaga opted against surgery and agreed to her physician’s offer to write her a prescription for the misoprostol. Still, despite her urgent situation, when Arteaga showed up to a Walgreens to have her prescription filled, the pharmacist behind the counter refused to fill her order because of “ethical beliefs.”

The incident has sparked a trending Twitter dispute.

Terminating a dead pregnancy wasn’t a part of Arteaga’s plan when she first became pregnant.

This post isn’t something I generally do, but last night I experienced something no women should ever have to go thru…

Posted by Nicole Mone on Friday, June 22, 2018

In a post to her Facebook page, the Arizona-based teacher described how she had taken steps to ensure the success of her pregnancy after her previous one resulted in a miscarriage. “After a previous miscarriage, the doctor had been monitoring me weekly,” Arteaga wrote. “Unfortunately, on Tuesday we found out the baby’s development had stopped and I ultimate will have a miscarriage. Dr gave me two options D&C or prescription medication. I opted for medication.”

D&C, or dilation and curettage, refers to a procedure that involves dilating the cervix and surgically removing part of the lining of the uterus. For women faced with aborting a nonviable pregnancy both D&C or misoprostol are healthy and common options. Women who are forced to carry nonviable fetuses to term can run the serious risk of coagulation defect and catastrophic bleeding. The initial risks are low but do increase over time. For a woman carrying a fetus that has been dead 4 to 6 weeks the risks are especially severe. While Nicole Arteaga did update her FB status to reveal that she was ultimately able to receive her prescription from a Walgreens store that was 20 minutes away from the initial location, she was only 9 weeks into a 40 month gestation period. Meaning, her health would have undoubtedly been at risk if more pharmacists had refused her.

Since Arteaga first published her story on Facebook, her post has been shared over 61K times.

“I stood at the mercy of this pharmacist explaining my situation in front of my 7-year-old, and five customers standing behind only to be denied because of his ethical beliefs,” she wrote. “I left Walgreens in tears, ashamed and feeling humiliated by a man who knows nothing of my struggles but feels it is his right to deny medication prescribed to me by my doctor… I get it we all have our beliefs but what he failed to understand is this isn’t the situation I had hoped for, this isn’t something I wanted. This is something I have zero control over. He has no idea what it’s like to want nothing more than to carry a child to full term and be unable to do so.”

In an interview with FIERCE, Arteaga explained that she wants  “there to be awareness for other women out there who might be in similar shoes, that this is something that can possibly happen, to be cautious and take steps to ensure you won’t have trouble picking up your medication.  I do not want another person already dealing with the emotional stress of the miscarriage to be put in a situation where they feel helpless and out of control of their own body, like I did.”

On Saturday, Walgreens responded to the incident by stating that they had contacted Arteaga “and apologized for how the situation was handled.” They also reiterated their policy of allowing “pharmacists to step away from filling a prescription for which they have a moral objection.”

Still, many on Twitter are expressing their frustration over the situation and calling into question the pharmacist’s concern for his patient’s wellbeing.

Arizona is one of six states in the United States that allow pharmacists to refuse to provide emergency contraception drugs. Arizona’s state law requires pharmacy employees to notify stores of what drugs they will refuse to fill because of “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Meanwhile, users on Twitter have critiqued the pharmacist for appearing to violate his Oath of A Pharmacist.

Like the Hippocratic oath that physicians make, pharmacists are required to make an oath that professes their effort to “consider the welfare of humanity and relief of suffering” their primary concerns as well as to “embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.” Many on Twitter have argued that by refusing to set his own beliefs aside and care for a patient in need, the Walgreens pharmacist failed to comply with the oath’s terms and put Arteaga’s health at risk.

Others have questioned why a health care provider would take on a job where their own religious beliefs could get in the way.

The debate over whether a company should allow a person’s religious beliefs to interfere with their work in such a way continues to rage on Twitter. Meanwhile, I would be interested in finding out the opinions of those who support Arizona’s state law about similar incidents where Muslim grocery store workers have refused to sell ham to customers because of their own religious beliefs.

Just curious.


Read: Nine People Tell Us Their Real Experience After Having An Abortion

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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More Undocumented Women Are Having Miscarriages While Being Detained Under The Trump Administration

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More Undocumented Women Are Having Miscarriages While Being Detained Under The Trump Administration

Conditions inside an immigration detention center are far from pleasant. They can also be worse than a jail cell. For the countless of undocumented immigrants seeking asylum or waiting to be released from these so-called hieleras (which means ice box in Spanish for their freezing temperatures) can unfortunately be the difference between life and death.

Last week a 24-year-old immigrant from Honduras had a stillborn baby six months into her pregnancy inside an immigration detention center. Politicians and organizations are now seeing that stillborn causalities and miscarriages is not isolated incidences but rather a problematic trend that has affected a number of pregnant detained women.

A new report shows that undocomunted women are experiencing more miscarriages while being detained has doubled under the Trump Administration.

Congressman Joaquin Castro and Chairman of the Hispanic Caucus said in a press release made available to us that “Medical experts have stated that detention centers do not have the necessary medical facilities to properly care for expectant mothers and that they should be released in a timely manner.” However, that hasn’t been the case. Pregnant women are detained for longer periods of time rather than be released.

Rep. Castro said that because the Trump Administration continues to detain pregnant women instead of releasing them, that is resulting in higher number of miscarriages.

“Last year the Trump Administration announced that it would detain most pregnant migrants instead of releasing them as the previous administration chose to do,” Rep. Castro said. “As a result of this cruel policy change, we have heard several alarming stories of pregnant women receiving inadequate medical care and even miscarrying while in DHS custody. These tragedies make one thing very clear: ICE and CBP should not be detaining expectant mothers in poor conditions, and the practice of detaining these women is inhumane and inconsistent with our values as Americans. We must examine the circumstances of the unfortunate and disturbing loss of this mother’s child. These agencies should reverse the policy changes that are hurting expectant mothers and instead work to protect the health and safety of all immigrants.”

To show the increase of miscarriages under the Trump Administration: 10 undocumented women had miscarriages between  October 2016 and September 2017. During the same review the following year, 18 undocumented women had miscarriages, the Daily Beast reports. That means the number continues to increase.

In 2017, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and seven other organizations filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and its Office of Inspector General detailing the conditions for all detained people.

“There is a troubling pattern of medical negligence and disregard for humanity in the way ICE and CBP are allowed to operate under the Trump Administration,” Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and the Hispanic Caucus Women’s Task Force Chair said in a statement made available to us. “I fear this tragedy could be a consequence of that negligence. I call on the Administration to be transparent and perform a thorough investigation, so we can know what exactly happened and what can be done to prevent this from happening in the future.”

READ: A Woman Who Had A Miscarriage Was Denied Access To Her Prescription Because Of A Pharmacist’s Beliefs

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