As a pharmacist and business owner in Bismarck, I didn’t expect to find myself suing the federal government. But last summer that government decided to reach into pharmacies across the country including my small business, Mayo Pharmacy — in an attempt to force us all to dispense abortion drugs or go out of business.
This politically motivated mandate would force religious Americans like me to violate our deeply held beliefs, and even compel us to violate the pro-life laws of the states where we live.
This is wrong on many levels. All Americans should have the freedom to live and work consistent with their beliefs. And federal bureaucrats have no business inventing laws that exist just to satisfy pro-abortion lobbyists. So Mayo Pharmacy had to respond. Represented by our attorneys at Alliance Defending Freedom, we partnered with the state of Texas to sue the Biden administration and block this illegal mandate. As our most recent motion filed Friday explains, “The Pharmacy Mandate attempts to impose a legal duty on pharmacies to dispense drugs for abortions. But HHS lacks any statutory authority to impose such a duty.”
Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the people and their elected representatives can regulate abortion. President Joe Biden wasn’t pleased because this meant voters in pro-life states can choose to protect the unborn. So he issued several executive orders creating a national push for abortion. In response to one of them, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services dutifully published mandates on its website, including a pharmacy mandate.
That mandate orders 60,000 pharmacies (including mine) to stock and dispense abortion drugs under the euphemism “comprehensive reproductive health care services.” If we don’t, under the mandate, our pharmacies can no longer service patients covered by a federal program like Medicaid or Medicare.
This mandate is even more absurd when you consider that pharmacists are licensed professionals whose duty is to look out for the health of our patients. Elsewhere the federal government recognizes our responsibility, even legally requiring us to consider the appropriateness of controlled substances a doctor prescribes. But now the government would ban us from asking whether a drug we provide might kill an eight-week-old unborn child?
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As a Catholic and a medical professional, I know that life begins at conception. My religious convictions inspire me to protect life — one of the reasons I became a pharmacist. The last thing I would do is use my pharmacy to destroy an innocent life.
My approach is not limited to abortion, either. Mayo Pharmacy is a Catholic business that exists to promote everyone’s life and health. We even operate a Catholic religious goods store in our pharmacy storefront. Anyone who comes into Mayo Pharmacy should know they have entered a place where their life is honored.
If the Biden administration gets its way, we would have to shut down, and people would lose the pharmacies they trust and rely on. That is unconstitutional. Joe Biden is president, not emperor. After the Supreme Court recognized that abortion isn’t a constitutional right, the Biden administration should have stayed in its lane. Instead, it is trying to dictate a politicized agenda to pro-life state voters across the country, without any legal authority from Congress.
When we filed our lawsuit, federal attorneys asked the court to dismiss our case and ignore the president’s explicit abortion agenda behind the mandate. Thankfully, the judge rejected this attempt in a recent ruling and is letting our case continue. He even compared federal bureaucrats to money launderers, who try to keep their illegal gains while avoiding accountability in court. So we are forging ahead to ask the court to protect us from this illegal abortion mandate.
Federal agencies are increasingly out of control. They undermine the rights of Americans to live and work according to their beliefs, the rights of Congress and states to legislate, and the rights of voters to be governed by their elected representatives — not unaccountable bureaucrats. I hope that the stand I’ve taken will encourage other Americans to stand up for the cause of freedom.
LifeNews Note: Kevin Martian is the owner of Mayo Pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota.