Texas filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration on Tuesday to block federal health guidance that allegedly forces pharmacies to dispense abortion-inducing drugs.
The Biden administration in July 2022 released guidance requiring pharmacies to supply women with abortion-inducing drugs or risk losing Medicaid and Medicare funds, even if certain state laws prohibit the procedure.
Texas argues in its lawsuit, which refers to the guidance collectively as the “pharmacy mandate,” that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has attempted to impose, via executive fiat, a federal right to abortion. The lawsuit said this was a part of the Biden administration’s “war against” the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision. That ruling reversed a 1973 ruling that made abortion legal nationwide.
“But whether the Biden Administration likes it or not, the question of abortion is up to the people’s elected representatives—not unelected bureaucrats,” the lawsuit states (pdf). “The Biden Administration’s attempt to inject itself into that question is both procedurally and substantively illegal.”
The HHS guidance, which involved roughly 60,000 U.S. retail pharmacies, claims that federal anti-discrimination law requires pharmacies to provide these drugs. The guidance was released on July 13, 2022, a few days after President Joe Biden, a Democrat, signed an executive order that made it easier to obtain abortion services following the Dobbs decision.
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However, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, argues that Title IX’s anti-discrimination protections don’t require companies to provide abortions, and instead protect any person or entity from being forced to aid in the provision of abortions.