Texas Challenges Federal Law on Prescription Abortion Drugs

February 8, 2023

The state of Texas filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, challenging guidance from the Biden Administration asserting pharmacies may not legally turn away prescriptions for drugs that could end a pregnancy.

The Department of Health and Human Services back in July sent guidance to more than 60,000 pharmacies nationwide stating that under federal civil rights law, pregnancy discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, which is illegal.

The suit also comes after the FDA in January said it would allow retail drugstores like CVS and Walgreens to offer customers prescription abortion pills.

Texas filed its suit against the guidance in the state’s Western District Court, where it is very likely to come before Trump-appointed U.S. District Judge David Counts.

The state asserts that the policy violates the Constitution and federal law by forcing pharmacies to carry abortion drugs in states—like Texas—where abortion is banned or severely restricted.

“By requiring pharmacies that receive Medicare and Medicaid funds—including retail pharmacies operated by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center—to dispense abortifacients when the life of the mother is not in danger, the Pharmacy Mandate flouts Dobbs’s holding that States may regulate abortion and directly infringes on Texas’s sovereign and quasisovereign authority,” the lawsuit stated.

The Supreme Court ruled on June 24 in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization, overturning the Constitutional right to abortion established back in 1973 by Roe v Wade.

Last week, Texas’ Attorney General was among 20 from Republican states who warned executives at CVS and Walgreens against using the mail to dispense abortion pills in their states. The warning was a rebuke against DOJ guidance that federal law did not prohibit the mailing of abortion pills.

Walgreens said it was not dispensing the abortion pill mifepristone at this time. CVS did not immediately respond to reporter inquiries regarding the Attorneys General’s warning. 

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