Women Sue Wal-Mart Over Emergency Contraception

Three women in Massachusetts have sued Wal-Mart over its refusal to stock emergency contraception in its pharmacies, calling it a violation of state law that requires pharmacies carry all “commonly prescribed medications.” The women, Katrina McCarty, Julia Battel, and Dr. Rebekah Gee, attempted to purchase emergency contraception (EC) at suburban Wal-Marts, and were told that the store did not sell it and it could not be ordered. The women hope to force an injunction that requires pharmacies to carry EC, similar to the one currently enforced in Illinois.

Massachusetts is one of nine states where emergency contraception can be sold over the counter without a prescription, but pharmacies are not required to stock it. McCarty, Battel, and Gee have also filed a complaint with the Massachusetts pharmacy board, asking the board to require Wal-Mart to carry EC, according to the Boston Globe. Currently, only Illinois Wal-Marts stock EC, in accordance with a statute requiring pharmacies that stock contraception to stock EC as well. Wal-Mart, which currently faces the largest sex discrimination lawsuit in history, has a history of anti-women practices.

The current issue of Ms., on newsstands now, features a behind-the-scenes look at a Wal-Mart stockholders meeting by Martha Burk, new Money Editor of Ms. and former chair of the National Council of Women’s Organizations.

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Associated Press 2/1/06; BBC News 2/2/06

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