Catholic pharmacist joins Texas lawsuit against HHS mandate to dispense abortion drug

Update 3/1/2023: A Catholic pharmacist in North Dakota has joined the Texas lawsuit against the US Department of Health and Human Services regarding its mandate requiring pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded health coverage to stock and dispense abortion drugs.

The complaint has been amended to include Mayo Pharmacy, run by Kevin Martian, PharmD, in Bismark, North Dakota. Martian said he operates his pharmacy in accordance with Catholic ethics — including that life begins at fertilization, which is in line with science. If the HHS mandate takes effect, Martian will be forced to either violate his beliefs, shut down, or stop serving clients who use federally funded health care plans.

“The Biden administration’s pharmacy mandate is illegal, directly conflicts with federal and state law, and violates the religious exercise rights of pharmacies across the nation, including Mayo Pharmacy,” said ADF Legal Counsel Andrea Dill. “We urge the court to reject this unlawful attempt by the executive branch to usurp the right of states to protect innocent, unborn lives.”

2/8/2023: The state of Texas is suing the Biden administration in an attempt to halt its effort to force certain pharmacies to dispense the abortion pill.

In July of 2022, after the fall of Roe v. Wade, the Biden administration sent out guidance to retail pharmacies advising them that refusing to fill abortion prescriptions could violate federal law — even though laws protecting preborn children from abortion were in place in numerous states. The press release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) described it as a potential civil rights violation. “We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, free of discrimination,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said. “This includes access to prescription medications for reproductive health and other types of care.”

The lawsuit has been filed against the HHS in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The state argues that it does not violate federal discrimination law to abide by state laws after the fall of Roe, and that Title IX’s anti-discrimination protections do not require businesses to become on-demand abortion facilities. Additionally, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court ruling made it clear that state lawmakers are to decide abortion laws — not the federal government.

Walgreens CVS banner

Furthermore, the FDA recently announced that retail pharmacies, like CVS and Walgreens, could dispense the abortion pill with a prescription; both chains, as well as Rite-Aid, have announced plans to stock the drugs.

“The Biden Administration knows that it has no legal authority to institute this radical abortion agenda, so now it’s trying to intimidate every pharmacy in America by threatening to withhold federal funds,” Attorney General Paxton said in a press release. “It’s not going to work. Texas and several other states across the country have dutifully passed laws to protect the unborn, and we are not going to back down just because unelected bureaucrats in Washington want to create illegal, extremist federal policies.”

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