Charlottesville Breaking News
It was late spring when Kim Simmons approached the Kmart pharmacy seeking the over-the-counter emergency contraceptive Plan B. In her 40s and the mother of a 22-year-old son, Simmons says she and her boyfriend practiced safe sex but had experienced a prior night condom failure that Simmons feared could put her health in jeopardy.
"If I become pregnant, it could kill me," says Simmons, citing an existing medical condition.
What began as mild embarrassment over the $40 purchase soon turned to anger as the pharmacist on duty refused to ring up her purchase.
"He said, 'I'm not going to sell it to you,'" Simmons recalls of pharmacist Kevin Wright, who, Simmons says, described himself as a "conscientious objector."
"He told me there were plenty of other stores I could get it," says Simmons, who left Kmart and purchased the drug across the street at Kroger. Months later, however, she remains outraged.
"He was trying to control my body," says Simmons. "I would never want to have an abortion, but by him denying me [Plan B], I could have been faced with that decision."
Citing corporate policy, Wright declined comment, but according to Illinois-based Kmart corporate spokesperson Kimberly Freely, Kmart– like other pharmacies– allows its pharmacists to decline the sales of any medications to which they object on moral or religious grounds as long as they direct the customer to a another pharmacist or empl...