CV NEWS FEED // The state of Texas and a Catholic-run pharmacy in North Dakota took a stand for religious freedom on June 29, when a judge heard oral arguments in State of Texas and Mayo Pharmacy v. Becerra.
Texas and the Mayo Pharmacy are challenging the Biden administration’s mandate requiring pharmacies that serve patients who receive federal financial assistance to dispense abortion drugs, saying the mandate violates pharmacists’ religious freedom.
In July 2022, the US Department of Health and Human Services issued a new mandate that forced all pharmacies that receive federal financial assistance because they serve those with Medicaid or Medicare to dispense abortion drugs, regardless of the pharmacists’ religious beliefs. The mandate threatens legal action against non-compliant pharmacies.
Following the mandate, the state of Texas filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration. In March 2023, ADF attorneys added Mayo Pharmacy to the suit. Mayo Pharmacy in Bismarck, North Dakota, is run by devout Catholic pharmacist Kevin Martian.
The US District Court for the Western District of Texas held a hearing on June 29, when ADF attorneys presented their arguments before Judge David Counts.
Andrea Dill, ADF’s legal counsel who argued at the hearing, told CatholicVote that the hearing seemed to go well, but that Judge Counts has not yet delivered a ruling.
“The judge seemed interested,” she said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll rule in our favor so we can continue to protect the religious freedom of Americans and pharmacies to live out their religious beliefs.”
Dill said the main argument for the case is that Biden’s mandate violates the right to religious freedom protected by the First Amendment, and said that the mandate also goes against the Administrative Procedures Act.
Further action in the case depends on Judge Counts’ future ruling. If the mandate is enforced, pharmacy owner Kevin Martian can choose to appeal, or he could be forced to close his pharmacy.