President Joe Biden’s administration is warning retail pharmacies that refusing to supply patients with abortion pills would violate anti-discrimination laws. Pro-life leaders insist that forcing pharmacists to dispense abortion drugs would violate their conscience rights.
New guidelines issued by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights emphasize to roughly 60,000 pharmacies in the United States that refusing to fill prescriptions for abortion drugs is pregnancy discrimination.
“The guidance makes clear that as recipients of federal financial assistance, including Medicare and Medicaid payments, pharmacies are prohibited under law from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, age, and disability in their programs and activities,” HHS said in a release.
The department added: “This includes supplying prescribed medications; making determinations regarding the suitability of prescribed medications for a patient; and advising a patient about prescribed medications and how to take them.”
The health department framed the move as its latest step in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade — Secretary Xavier Becerra promised that HHS is “committed to ensuring that everyone can access healthcare, free of discrimination.”
“This includes access to prescription medication,” Becerra said, “including birth control, miscarriage management, and medication abortion from their pharmacy.”
Pro-life and conservative leaders told The Daily Wire that such an order violates the conscience rights of pharmacists nationwide.
“This move signals that the Biden administration is more concerned with their own political agenda over the health and religious liberties of the American people,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said Monday.
“With abortion medication responsible for over half of abortions in the nation, these guidelines are both hypocritical and completely misaligned with the values and priorities of the American people,” she added.
Jeanne Mancini, the head of the annual March for Life, accused the Biden administration of maliciously seeking to “conflate” healthcare with abortion.
“Deliberately ending a human life is the diametric opposite of healthcare,” Mancini said. “It is outrageous that the administration is taking the further step of forcing Americans to fall in line with this misguided and deadly agenda.”
“Pharmacists, like all medical professionals, have the right to honor their consciences and mission to preserve and protect life, without government interference,” she added.
And Catholic Vote’s Brian Burch warned that not only would the Biden administration be “superseding state laws that protect women and children from these dangerous drugs” through such a move — it also would be directly contradicting the Biden administration’s policies adopted toward opioid prescriptions.
Biden’s plan to curb the opioid crisis reminds small companies and distributors that they too can be held accountable, calling for federal investigations into distributors of opioids.
The president’s plan also calls for banning drug manufacturers from paying or incentivizing physicians and other prescribers.
“Pharmaceutical companies work hard to persuade doctors and other medical personnel to prescribe their products,” the president’s plan states. “These companies essentially pay providers to prescribe opioids and other drugs by, for example, paying providers to speak at or attend conferences, or consult for their companies. By banning these practices, Biden will ensure that patients’ lives do not take a backseat to doctors’ bottom lines.”
“Tellingly, when it comes to opioids, the administration has pressured and even investigated pharmacists who rely solely on physicians who prescribe opioids – despite the fact that opioids can be prescribed for valid health conditions including disabilities,” Burch said.
The fun times don't stop… ON THE SAME DAY that @TheJusticeDept announced the new warning to pharmacies surrounding abortion….they settled one of their cases against pharmacies for NOT second guessing prescriptions …https://t.co/YsL8mGHK3r
— Alliance For Consumers (@for_consumers) July 15, 2022
“The double standard is indicative of the extreme position the administration has staked out for itself, namely, a blind allegiance to the most radical demands of the abortion industry by any means necessary, at any cost,” he added.
Neither the White House nor HHS has responded to requests for comment from The Daily Wire regarding such concerns.