MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A former pharmacist said yesterday he refused to fill a college student’s prescription for birth control pills or transfer it to another pharmacy because he did not want to commit a sin.
Neil Noesen, 30, testifying before a judge at a disciplinary hearing, could face a reprimand or loss of his pharmacist’s license for refusing to help Amanda Phiede obtain her pills.
“I could have trouble sleeping at night. I could be suffering the worst kind of pain: spiritual pain,” Mr. Noesen told an administrative law judge.
The state Department of Regulation and Licensing accuses Mr. Noesen of unprofessional conduct for not transferring Miss Phiede’s prescription.
“The additional risk of pregnancy should not have been imposed on her by someone else,” said John Zwieg, a lawyer for the department.
Mr. Noesen’s attorney, Krystal Williams-Oby, said her client broke no laws. She described him as a devout Roman Catholic and said any punishment would violate his constitutional right to religious expression.
According to the complaint, Mr. Noesen was an independent pharmacist filling in at a Kmart pharmacy in Menomonie in July 2002 when Miss Phiede, then a student at the University of Wisconsin at Stout, asked to renew her birth control prescription.
Mr. Noesen, the only pharmacist on duty at the store at the time, asked if the prescription would be used for contraception, then refused to refill it when she said it would.
“I just wanted to get my pills and go home,” Miss Phiede said.
Mr. Noesen also refused a Wal-Mart pharmacist’s request to transfer the prescription, she said.
Miss Phiede returned to Kmart the next day with police, she said, and the store manager called Ken Jordanby, the pharmacy director who was out of town. Mr. Jordanby filled her prescription when he returned the following day.
In his testimony, Mr. Noesen talked about God’s law and accused Mr. Zwieg of harassing him.
The hearing is expected to conclude today. The judge will make a recommendation to the examining board on what punishment, if any, Mr. Noesen should receive.
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