Imagine walking into a pharmacy with a prescription and being told by the pharmacist, "I won't fill it. It's my right not to fill it." It's outrageous to think this is possible, but this is exactly what happened to a 26-year-old woman who presented a prescription for emergency contraception at a Target in Fenton, MO, on September 30. Join Planned Parenthood in demanding that every woman's pills be filled -- now!
This kind of thing burns me up. You think we're fighting over a woman's right to choose? No. We've taken such a great leap backward during the Bush years that we're fighting over birth control. So I clicked, then typed, then clicked, and sent my outraged form letter off to Target. Because I'm an activitst of the usual type - you know, a little lazy, but I do care. I DO! I clicked! I typed! I clicked! And I'll do it again if I have to. Oh, and I forwarded the email to most of my mailing list with this message:
Maybe that's why I took this outrage to heart - I do shop at Target. They recently opened a store here in Brooklyn. I've given them my money on several occasions. Hell, I grew up on Target. Back in Houston, Target was our main man, for all the times we didn't have enough money to shop at Sears. BASTARDS!
A forward from Katie...
I know you're all really busy, but this is really easy (a few clicks) and really important. It isn't about abortion. It's about birth control! But that's the fight. So let's fight it. Ever shopped at a Target? Love their ads? Me too. Now let'em have it.
So today Target got back to me:
Dear Target Guest,
Target places a high priority on our role as a community pharmacy and our obligation to meet the needs of the patients we serve. We expect all our team members, including our pharmacists, to provide respectful service to our guests, particularly when it comes to their health care needs.
Like many other retailers, Target has a policy that ensures a guest’s prescription for emergency contraception is filled, whether at Target or at a different pharmacy, in a timely and respectful manner. This policy meets the health care needs of our guests while respecting the diversity of our team members.
Your thoughts help us learn more about what our guests expect, so I’ll be sure to share your feedback with our pharmacy executives.
Thanks for taking the time to share your questions, thoughts and comments. I hope we’ll see you again soon at Target.
Target Executive Offices
A form letter? Are you freakin' kidding me, Jennifer? Sure, I sent a form letter, but I'm a civilian. I've got a job to slack off at every day, for Christ's sake! But responding to inquiries and objections from customers is Jennifer's one and only job. And on reading her letter more carefully, I decided she wasn't doing it very well. There are so many things wrong with her response, so many implicit statements about Target policy which are absolutely outrageous that I was forced to shift in pro-activist mode and write a real-live, bonafide, hand-crafted letter expressing my seething outrage at her half-baked bullshit. It goes something like this:
Thank you for your timely response. It was not good enough by a longshot. I wrote to you in regard to a specific incident at your Fenton, Missouri store.
I would like to know how the issue was resolved. A young woman in need was turned away by someone who decided that providing a legal prescription was not in her job description. Given your response, I must assume Target agrees with her action. You stated:
Target has a policy that ensures a guest’s prescription for emergency contraception is filled, whether at Target or at a different pharmacy, in a timely and respectful manner. This policy meets the health care needs of our guests while respecting the diversity of our team members.
If someone has to go to a different pharmacy, then the service is not timely, is it? As for "diversity" you're simply using that as cover to avoid confronting a handful of religious extremists in your ranks. You call it respect. I call it cowardice.
Frankly, I fail to understand the logic of an employee who opposes abortion AND contraception. I thought we were done fighting over the pill. Not at Target, I guess. As you know, if a woman cannot obtain contraception, she is more likely to have an abortion later. Withholding birth control, emergency or otherwise, increases the rate of abortion. Until I hear otherwise, I will assume that Target supports an increase in the number of abortions in this country. Make no mistake, unlike your employee in Fenton, most people in this country are intelligent enough to support contraception whether they oppose abortion or not. Since your policy directly contributes to an increase in the number of abortions in this country, it will please neither right nor left.
A woman in need of emergency contraception is in a difficult situation, often desperate and emotionally fragile. If refused service, she will naturally assume that refusal represents official company policy. She is unlikely to challenge the employee and demand that someone else fill the prescription. She will go home, agonize, maybe go to another pharmacy, maybe not. She is likely to become pregnant, and then, because of your shortsighted policy, have to face the horrifying prospect of obtaining an abortion at a later date. Shame on you!
Further, as your policy makes clear, an entire store could refuse to fill a prescription. Why else promise to have it filled "at a different pharmacy"? Am I to believe that if an entire store opposes birth control, its employees will nevertheless provide the information necessary to get a prescription filled elsewhere? Where in Fenton did your customer have her prescription filled? If the Target in Fenton refused to deliver birth control, am I to believe a local mom-and-pop operation stepped up in your place? Do you know? I assume you keep a record of these referals?
You just opened a new Target a few blocks from my home in Brooklyn, at the Atlantic Center on Flatbush Avenue. I will not be shopping there again. Nor will my hundred contacts, nor their hundred contacts in Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, Michigan, Florida. A form letter will not get our business back. If you continue kowtowing to religious extremists and refuse service to the vast majority of Americans, you will never get it back.
Thank you for your time.