Dr. Kevin Martian, owner of Mayo Pharmacy in Bismark, North Dakota is challenging the Biden administration’s mandate requiring pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense elective abortion drugs. The government mandate threatens legal action against any pharmacy or pharmacist that does not comply, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs. Last March the independent North Dakota pharmacy was added to a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas for the same reason.
In a Friday, January 26, hearing for the lawsuit State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys will argue against the Biden administration’s unlawful use of a federal agency (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to advance the administration’s radical abortion agenda.
“Unelected bureaucrats cannot force Americans to dispense abortion-inducing drugs against their conscience,” said ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman, director of regulatory practice, who will be arguing before the court. “Federal law does not require pharmacies to stock or dispense abortion-causing drugs, and the HHS directive stands in direct contrast with constitutionally protected religious freedom and pro-life state laws. It’s unlawful for the executive branch to weaponize the administrative process to advance a radical pro-abortion agenda. We urge the court to hold the administration accountable for grossly overstepping its authority.”
The new HHS mandate
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 July 2023, the district court denied HHS’s motion to dismiss the complaint, declaring that, “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.”
Friday’s hearing will consider the parties’ cross motions for summary judgment.
Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian
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 where they can end an unborn child’s life; 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.
In a separate case ADF attorneys are litigating alongside the state of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit recently ruled that the Biden administration cannot illegally use federal law to force emergency room doctors to perform abortions.
In another lawsuit, ADF attorneys representing four medical associations and four doctors are suing the Food and Drug Administration for illegally removing safeguards for abortion drugs. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear that case in the spring.
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