Image Source: Getty / Joe Raedle
The most recent criticism comes from Walgreens customer Jessica Pentz, who attempted to buy condoms and was refused by the employee. The employee told Pentz he could not sell condoms due to his religious beliefs. Her husband later explained the incident on Twitter, and their experience went viral.
In a statement to Newsweek, Walgreens spokesperson Kris Lathan said that these sorts of instances are “very rare,” but employees are not required to complete transactions against their religious beliefs. “Our policies are designed to ensure we meet the needs of our patients and customers while respecting the religious and moral beliefs of our team members,” Lathan said. “We require the employee to refer the transaction to another employee or manager on duty who will complete the customer’s transaction.”
But Pentz’s experience with Walgreens and its interference in customers’ reproductive choices isn’t an isolated event. One Twitter user posted about receiving a box of baby formula mailed to her door a week after buying a pregnancy test at Walgreens during a formula shortage.
Dear @Walgreens I received this package today a week after purchasing a pregnancy test at your store. I was asked to take the test by my doctor despite having no Fallopian tubes. 1/X pic.twitter.com/EZTsTPf7jd
— Nicole (@melancholynsex) July 17, 2022
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Abigail Martin posted a TikTok video alleging that she was refused access to her birth-control prescription and actively misled to believe she had no prescription refills left. After being on hold for an hour via phone, Martin went into a Walgreens, and the employee was an older woman with “two crosses hanging around her neck.” After contacting her provider, Martin was assured she had refills but received conflicting messages from Walgreens claiming her birth control was delayed, then out of stock. At the time of posting the TikTok, Martin still hadn’t received her birth control.
Following stories like these, customers are calling for others to #BoycottWalgreens. “I will boycott Walgreens which means that I will have to avoid the one in the town that I live, as well as the one in the town where I work,” one person wrote on Twitter. Another person tweeted, “If a pharmacist has ‘moral’ objections to medications, they shouldn’t be a damned pharmacist. This is bull. #boycottWalgreensindeed.” Some celebrities have also expressed their dissent for these practices. “Well I’m joining this boycott. Not acceptable. Women are not cattle. You don’t own us. #BoycottWalgreens,” wrote “The Dropout” star Michaela Watkins in a tweet.
The company has given almost half a million dollars to antiabortion-rights committees since 2016. These recent outcries also come after the company’s donation to 11 members of the so-called Sedition Caucus or “Treason Caucus” — the Republican congressmen who voted against the certification of President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory in the presidential elections, even after pledging to suspend these contributions.