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Pharmacist hit for not filling post-rape pill

DALLAS -- A Texas pharmacist was disciplined for refusing to fill the prescription of a rape victim seeking a morning-after pregnancy-prevention pill, the pharmacy chain that employed the man said yesterday.

Eckerd Corp. said the pharmacist considered it a violation of morals to give a rape victim, with a valid prescription, a pill that would prevent her from getting pregnant after the sexual assault.

The incident took place on Jan. 23 at an Eckerd drugstore in the Dallas suburb of Denton.

Eckerd spokeswoman Joan Gallagher said the pharmacist violated company policy.

"A pharmacist is obliged to fill a prescription if it is a valid, legal prescription," she said. "We do not make exceptions for any moral, religious, or ethical concerns with regard to filling the prescription."

Florida-based Eckerd is owned by Texas-based retailer J.C. Penney Co.

Protesters, carrying signs reading "Got Raped? Let someone else help you" and "Rape violates my morals," have been picketing the store this week.

Kathryn Allen, a spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of North Texas, said the situation could have been avoided if hospitals in the state mandated emergency contraception in sexual assault cases. Other states stipulate that hospitals must make such contraception available to victims of sexual assault, but Texas does not.

"What this pharmacist did was truly outrageous. It forces the woman to relive the assault," Allen said.

The rape victim had the prescription filled at another pharmacy in the area.

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