The Supreme Court ruled in June that abortion is not a fundamental right protected by the U.S. Constitution, but President Joe Biden and his administration have spent the past few weeks attempting to skirt that ruling and nonetheless make abortion a federally-protected right.
The latest effort in that regard is a clear warning issued to pharmacies nationwide that essentially forces them to fill prescriptions for abortion drugs, regardless of applicable state law or personal beliefs, or risk facing prosecution under federal civil rights laws, the Daily Wire reported.
In doing so, however, the administration itself rather ironically and hypocritically appears to be violating those same civil rights laws that protect the right of conscience and right of religious beliefs held by pro-life pharmacists.
HHS threatens pharmacies on abortion medication
It was on July 8 that President Biden issued an executive order on “protecting access to reproductive health services” that ordered the Health and Human Services secretary to take actions to “protect and expand access” to abortions, including “medication abortion” and “emergency contraception” that used prescribed drugs to terminate a pregnancy.
Less than a week later, on July 13, HHS Sec. Xavier Becerra issued “guidance” to the nation’s estimated 60,000 retail pharmacies to ostensibly remind them of “their obligations under federal civil rights laws,” but in actuality came across as a direct threat of potential federal punishment for pharmacies that don’t fall in line with the administration’s agenda.
“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,” the release noted. “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 release went on to assert that “pregnancy discrimination” was covered under federal civil rights laws and, as such, pharmacies that allegedly discriminated against pregnant women by refusing to fill prescriptions for abortion-inducing medication could face federal consequences.
“We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, free of discrimination,” Becerra said in a statement. “This includes access to prescription medications for reproductive health and other types of care.”
Hypocritical violations of the rights of conscience and religious beliefs
The Daily Wire noted that several pro-life organizations immediately raised concerns over the HHS guidance and what it meant for the rights of conscience and religious beliefs for an untold number 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,” Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, said. “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.”
“It is outrageous that the administration is taking the further step of forcing Americans to fall in line with this misguided and deadly agenda,” Jeanne Mancini, head of the annual March for Life, told the outlet. “Pharmacists, like all medical professionals, have the right to honor their consciences and mission to preserve and protect life, without government interference.”
It was further noted by both the Catholic Vote’s Brian Burch as well as the Alliance for Consumers that this move by HHS was grossly hypocritical in light of the Biden administration’s seemingly opposite efforts to crack down on pharmacies for simply honoring prescriptions without second guessing with regard to opioids only to now demand that pharmacies do exactly that with respect to abortion medication prescriptions.