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Mayo Pharmacy Challenging Mandate to Dispense Abortion Drugs

Mayo Pharmacy is standing against the Biden administration’s unconstitutional attempt to mandate dispensing abortion drugs nationwide.
Alliance Defending Freedom
Kevin Martian owns Mayo Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022, it made clear that the power to make laws about abortion returns to the people and their elected representatives. But ever since that ruling—Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization—the Biden administration has been seeking to circumvent the Court’s decision.

Since June 2022, the administration and its allies in the pro-abortion lobby have tried to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions, nullify commonsense protections that states have passed concerning dangerous chemical abortion drugs, strike down a law protecting unborn children from being killed because of genetic abnormalities, and create a nationwide abortion-drug market that ignores state and federal law. Now, the Biden administration is trying to force Christian pharmacies to dispense chemical abortion drugs.

What is Mayo Pharmacy, and who is Kevin Martian?

Mayo Pharmacy is an independent pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota. It is owned by Kevin Martian, a devout Catholic pharmacist who believes that God created human life in His image. For this reason, Kevin knows that all human life is sacred.

Kevin operates Mayo Pharmacy in accordance with his religious beliefs about life, which means that he does not dispense chemical abortion drugs to end an innocent life. But a Biden administration directive would force him to start dispensing those lethal drugs or risk losing his business.

State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. Becerra

In its 2022 ruling in Dobbs, the Supreme Court held that the Constitution does not confer a “right” to abortion. As a result, the Court returned the issue of abortion to the people and their elected representatives.

Immediately, the Biden administration went to work trying to evade the Court’s ruling. Just weeks after the Dobbs decision, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a letter requiring all pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense chemical abortion drugs.

HHS cited the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and disability rights laws as the legal basis for this pharmacy mandate. In reality, the ACA explicitly rejects this interpretation, stating that nothing in the law “shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on State laws regarding the prohibition of (or requirement of) coverage, funding, or procedural requirements on abortions.” And disability rights laws have never mandated abortion drugs.

In Texas, multiple laws protect unborn life, so the state filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration for illegally attempting to preempt its laws and force pharmacies to dispense chemical abortion drugs.

But the Biden administration’s pharmacy mandate doesn’t just affect states like Texas; it also applies to private pharmacies across the country. That’s where Kevin Martian and Mayo Pharmacy come in. If any pharmacies that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments decline to dispense chemical abortion drugs to end innocent lives, the Biden administration threatens to take legal action against them.

In February 2023, Mayo Pharmacy joined Texas’s lawsuit to defend Kevin’s right to operate Mayo in line with his religious beliefs. And in July 2023, the federal court rejected the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss the case, agreeing with Texas and Mayo Pharmacy that the mandate requires dispensing abortion drugs in an attempt to circumvent Dobbs, and that federal agencies cannot avoid judicial review of that mandate.

What’s at stake?

The Biden administration is twisting federal law and trampling state laws by attempting to force pharmacies to dispense chemical abortion drugs even after the Supreme Court’s clear ruling in Dobbs. Not only that, it is also violating the Constitution by trying to force private pharmacies and their owners to prescribe drugs for purposes that conflict with their beliefs.

Americans are free to exercise their religious beliefs without government interference, and the Biden administration has no right to mandate abortion nationwide.

Case timeline

  • July 2022: The Biden administration issued a mandate attempting to force pharmacies nationwide to dispense chemical abortion drugs.
  • February 2023: ADF attorneys filed an amended complaint adding Mayo Pharmacy to the lawsuit Texas had filed against the Biden administration.
  • July 2023: The court denied the Biden administration’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the pharmacy abortion mandate is subject to judicial review and Texas and Mayo Pharmacy can litigate their Administrative Procedure Act claims.

The bottom line

Pharmacies should not be subject to illegal abortion mandates from federal agencies.