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Court allows pharmacy's case against Biden admin to proceed

Texas district court criticizes administration’s unlawful attempt to use federal health agency to advance radical abortion agenda
The FDA will now allow retail pharmacies to provide dangerous chemical abortion drugs

MIDLAND, Texas – A federal district court ruled Wednesday to allow a North Dakota pharmacy’s lawsuit against the Biden administration to proceed, rejecting the administration’s attempt to dismiss the pharmacy’s case that challenges the administration’s unlawful use of a federal agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to advance its radical abortion agenda.

In March, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys added their client, Mayo Pharmacy—an independent pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota, run by Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian, PharmD—to a lawsuit the state of Texas filed challenging the Biden administration’s attempt to require pharmacies that receive federal funding to dispense abortion-inducing drugs.

“Unelected bureaucrats shouldn’t be forcing Americans to dispense abortion-inducing drugs against their conscience. The Biden administration’s repeated attempts to impose a federal right to abortion continue to fail because that right has never existed—not to mention it’s illegal and directly conflicts with federal and state law,” said ADF Legal Counsel Andrea Dill, who argued before the court on behalf of Mayo Pharmacy. “It’s unlawful for the executive branch to weaponize the administrative process to advance a radical pro-abortion agenda. Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to advocate on behalf of those who seek to protect unborn children, as well as hold the administration accountable when it grossly oversteps its authority.”

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland-Odessa Division wrote in its decision in State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that, “Be it HHS, the SEC, or some other agency, what is most troubling is the trending technique federal agencies are using as standard strategy in implementing the executive branch’s policy goals in contravention of the rule of law. This technique, as explained above, is laundering, or smurfing, an executive policy goal into ‘unreviewable’ and ‘unchallengeable’ pieces while reinforcing the whole with an implicit enforcement threat.”

“What’s more, this compartmentalization of executive policy in an effort to avoid legal consequence is done in the open for all to see, though no one is supposed to notice,” the court continued. “Those days are gone; the Court notices. This administration has, before and since Dobbs, openly stated its intention to operate by fiat to find non-legislative workarounds to Supreme Court dictates. This Court will not play along with such a breach of constitutional constraints.”

In July 2022, HHS issued a mandate that requires pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense elective abortion drugs. The Biden administration threatened legal action against any pharmacy that does not comply, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs, as is the case of Mayo Pharmacy and its owner, Martian. In the amended complaint, ADF’s and Texas’ attorneys explain that the administration’s pharmacy mandate directly conflicts with multiple federal statues and Texas’ pro-life laws.

As a devout Catholic, Martian has operated his pharmacy in accordance with Catholic ethical and moral principles, including the teaching that human life begins at conception. As such, Mayo Pharmacy does not dispense drugs for abortion purposes; however, the administration’s pharmacy mandate is attempting to force the pharmacy to either stop serving customers who receive federal assistance or violate its religious beliefs.

ADF attorneys are also litigating with Texas in a separate case, where the state is challenging the Biden administration’s attempt to use federal law to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions, even if doing so violates their conscience or religious beliefs. In another lawsuit, ADF attorneys representing four medical associations and four doctors are suing the Food and Drug Administration for illegally approving and deregulating chemical abortion drugs that harm women and girls.

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Related Profiles

Andrea Dill
Andrea Dill
Legal Counsel
Andrea Dill serves as legal counsel for the Center for Christian Ministries at Alliance Defending Freedom.
Matt Bowman
Matt Bowman
Senior Counsel, Director of Regulatory Practice
Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel and director of regulatory practice at Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family.