A federal district court has denied the Biden administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by a North Dakota pharmacy represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). The Court ruled in favor of the pharmacy, allowing its case to proceed. 

In March, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys added Mayo Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in North Dakota run by Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian, PharmD, to a lawsuit filed by the state of Texas challenging the Biden administration’s attempt to mandate the dispensation of abortion-inducing drugs by pharmacies that receive federal funding.

The case, State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concerns a Biden administration mandate issued in July 2022, requiring pharmacies that serve patients with Medicare, Medicaid, or other federally funded coverage to stock and dispense elective abortion drugs or face legal action. 

Mayo Pharmacy, led by Kevin Martian, a devout Catholic, has operated in accordance with Catholic ethical and moral principles, which recognize human life as beginning at conception. As a result, the pharmacy does not dispense drugs for abortion purposes.

However, if the administration’s pharmacy mandate takes effect, Mayo Pharmacy would face the difficult choice of either refusing service to customers receiving federal assistance or violating its religious beliefs.

Alliance Defending Freedom, in collaboration with Texas, filed an amended complaint in the case, arguing that the administration’s mandate conflicts with federal statutes and Texas’ pro-life laws.

In the plaintiff’s amended verified complaint, ADF attorneys claimed that the Biden administration began its attempt to nullify Dobbs the “very day when President Biden held a press conference and announced that “[t]he only way we can secure a woman’s right to choose and the balance that existed is for Congress to restore the protections of Roe v. Wade as federal law.” 

They added that “the question of abortion is up to the people’s elected representatives—not unelected bureaucrats” and that the administration’s “attempt to inject itself into that question is both procedurally and substantively illegal.”

Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Andrea Dill, who argued before the Court on behalf of Mayo Pharmacy, said in a statement posted on Alliance Defending Freedom Media that the administration’s pharmacy mandate is not only illegal and in direct conflict with federal and state law but also infringes on the religious exercise rights of pharmacies nationwide, including Mayo Pharmacy. “Alliance Defending Freedom will continue to advocate on behalf of those who seek to protect unborn children, as well as hold the administration accountable when it grossly oversteps its authority,” Dill said.

The amended complaint was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, in collaboration with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Midland/Odessa Division.

In its decision, The District Court wrote that there appears to be a recent trend among federal agencies –“borrowing a technique common among money launderers to avoid judicial review.” The Court explained that the technique, known as “smurfing” in the financial arena, occurs “when the launderer divides a large transaction—which might otherwise trigger a bank’s reporting requirements—into various smaller transactions to avoid detection.”

The Court further stated that “The executive branch has a policy goal ensuring access to “medication abortion” and “reproductive healthcare services” post-Dobbs in circumvention of the Supreme Court’s ruling. So the executive branch ordered an agency to implement a scheme to protect access to “reproductive health care [termination of a pregnancy], including prescription medication from their pharmacy.”

“And, in an effort to avoid the inevitable judicial review, the agency issued its guidance, threatening enforcement action that the agency can later claim is unrelated to abortion, even though the executive’s policy goal is accomplished by its implementation.”

The ruling said, “Be it HHS, the SEC, or some other agency, what is most troubling is the trending technique federal agencies are using as standard strategy in implementing the executive branch’s policy goals in contravention of the rule of law. This technique, as explained above, is laundering, or smurfing, an executive policy goal into ‘unreviewable’ and ‘unchallengeable’ pieces while reinforcing the whole with an implicit enforcement threat.”

“What’s more,” the Court wrote, “this compartmentalization of executive policy in an effort to avoid legal consequence is done in the open for all to see, though no one is supposed to notice. Those days are gone; the Court notices. This administration has, before and since Dobbs, openly stated its intention to operate by fiat to find non-legislative workarounds to Supreme Court dictates. This Court will not play along with such a breach of constitutional constraints.” the ruling said. 

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, marriage and family, and the sanctity of life.

Alliance Defending Freedom Church Alliance and Alliance Defending Freedom Ministry Alliance are ministry arms of Alliance Defending Freedom, designed to provide churches and ministries with affordable legal support and the ability to exercise their right to operate, teach, and minister according to their deeply held biblical beliefs, free from unnecessary government interference.

By Manali

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