FederalHealthcarePaxton Sues Biden Administration for Requiring Pharmacies to Dispense Abortion-Inducing Drugs

The State of Texas is challenging a rule tying Medicare and Medicaid funding to a pharmacy’s willingness to dispense abortion drugs.
February 13, 2023
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a lawsuit last week against the Biden administration for its mandate that Paxton says “require[s] pharmacies to dispense abortion-inducing drugs in violation of state law.”

The regulation was issued in July 2022 and tied the dispensing of abortion drugs to a pharmacy’s receipt of Medicare and Medicaid funds. If the pharmacy won’t dispense drugs like mifepristone, then it would jeopardize its access to those federal program funds.

“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,” Paxton said in a press statement.

“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,” he added.

In his lawsuit filed in federal court in Midland, Paxton argues that the regulation violates both state and federal law.

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In 2021, Texas passed the Human Life Protection Act that prohibits abortion in Texas and carries a criminal and civil penalty. The pre-Roe v. Wade criminal statutes that were never repealed carry a potential sentence of two to five years in the penitentiary.

The statute adds that “[w]hoever furnishes the means for procuring an abortion knowing the purpose intended is guilty as an accomplice.”

Texas claims it is injured by the Biden pharmacy mandate because it violates Texas’ “sovereign interest in the power to create and enforce a legal code.”

Additionally, the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, a state-funded institution, operates retail pharmacies that would be required to dispense the abortion drugs under this mandate or risk losing Medicare and Medicaid funding.

Pharmacies and pharmacists in Texas must comply with state laws and regulations, including its abortion laws.

The Biden administration claims that the abortion prescription mandate is required to prevent discrimination against pregnant women and cites the Affordable Care Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and several other federal laws for enforcement.

However, Paxton points out in the lawsuit that the mandate conflicts with multiple federal laws.

The Affordable Care Act has a provision that states, “Nothing in this act shall be construed to preempt or otherwise have any effect on state laws regarding the prohibition of coverage, funding, or procedural requirements on abortions.”

Title IX has a provision that prohibits persons from being required to provide abortions, the court documents note.

The attorney general also argues that the pharmacy mandate violates the federal Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of money by the federal government to fund abortions.

Even if the mandate is authorized by federal law, Paxton asserts that it did not follow the proper procedures, including a notice and comment requirement for new rules under the federal Administrative Procedure Act.

The Biden administration has not yet replied to the lawsuit.

The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a group of doctors and doctor associations in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s “actions to approve chemical abortion drugs,” including allowing them to be prescribed via telehealth and not dispensed by a doctor as previously required.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Amarillo before Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. If he rules in favor of the doctors challenging the FDA regulations, that could bring a halt to the dispensing of abortion-inducing drugs via telehealth services.


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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a regional reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.