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Jury finds Minnesota pharmacist did not discriminate when denying morning-after pill

The jury said the plaintiff was entitled to damages for "emotional harm," but said she was not a victim of sex discrimination.

AITKIN COUNTY, Minn. — An Aitkin County jury has awarded a Minnesota woman $25,000 in damages after she filed a lawsuit claiming she was denied emergency contraception by a pharmacist in McGregor in 2019.

However, the woman's legal representatives from Gender Justice still plan to appeal the ruling to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

The jury found plaintiff Andrea Anderson is "entitled to damages" from pharmacist George Badeaux for "emotional harm," but the jury also said Anderson was not a victim of sex discrimination.

“To be clear, the law in Minnesota prohibits sex discrimination and that includes refusing to fill prescriptions for emergency contraception,” Gender Justice Legal Director Jess Braverman said in a statement posted online following the verdict. “The jury was not deciding what the law is, they were deciding the facts of what happened here in this particular case. We will appeal this decision and won’t stop fighting until Minnesotans can get the health care they need without the interference of providers putting their own personal beliefs ahead of their legal and ethical obligations to their patients.”

According to the suit, Anderson received a prescription for ella, also commonly known as the "morning-after pill," in January 2019 after her contraception failed. When she visited the only pharmacy in her hometown of McGregor, the suit claims Badeaux, the pharmacist on duty, told Anderson he would be unable to fill her prescription because of his "beliefs." Anderson claims she was also denied at another pharmacy in Aitkin. She eventually had to drive more than 50 miles away in a snowstorm to find a pharmacy that would fulfill her prescription.

“I can’t help but wonder about the other women who may be turned away,” Anderson said in a statement released through her attorneys. “Not everyone has the means or ability to drive hundreds of miles to get a prescription filled. I can only hope that by coming forward and pursuing justice that others don’t have to jump through the ridiculous hurdles I did.”  

KARE 11 has not yet received any statements or comment from Badeaux, his attorneys or the pharmacy on the jury's decision.

RELATED: Minnesota woman sues after being denied emergency contraception

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, pharmacists can legally refuse to fill a prescription

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