HHS Warns Pharmacies That Refuse Abortion Pills They Are Violating Anti-Discrimination Law

Jhe Biden Administration warns retail pharmacies against patient refusal Abortion-induce drugs, saying it would violate anti-discrimination laws by denying health care to pregnant women.

The Department of Health and Social Services‘s Office for Civil Rights issued guidelines strengthening the Obamacare law that warns more than 60,000 American pharmacies against the refusal to dispense drugs causing abortion, stipulating that this constitutes discrimination in matters of pregnancy. This includes discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth.


“HHS is committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, without discrimination,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “This includes access to prescription medications – including birth control, miscarriage management and medical abortion from their pharmacy.”

HHS also said pharmacists cannot refuse to fill prescriptions for drugs that may facilitate an abortion but are also used to treat other conditions, such as methotrexate, which is also used for rheumatoid arthritis. Other cases include one in which a pharmacy refuses to dispense a prescription for hemoglobin to mitigate the risk of bleeding if a pharmacist learns that the patient is going to have a surgical abortion.

Notably missing from the agency’s reminder to retail pharmacies was a clarification under Obamacare for pharmacists who oppose medical abortion on religious or moral grounds. CVS and Walgreens allow pharmacists who oppose medical abortion for these reasons to refuse to prescribe the drugs as long as they can direct the patient to another way to obtain the prescription, either by asking another pharmacist fill it out, or by referring the patient to a nearby location. The guidelines, however, protect pharmacists from discrimination by their employers for refusing to fill prescriptions.

The federal guidelines come amid growing pressure from abortion rights groups on the Biden administration to strengthen protections against abortion-inducing drugs.

“Calls to ‘just vote’ are not enough. People need care now and this wait could mean life or death,” tweeted Sharmin Hossain, campaign director for the Liberate Abortion Coalition, which includes more than 150 reproductive rights organizations.


Medical abortion consists of a regimen of two drugs taken 24 to 48 hours apart. The procedure counted 54% of all abortions in the country, compared to nearly 44% in 2019 and 39% in 2017, according to a survey by the Guttmacher Institute, a research group in favor of the right to abortion.

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