Biden admin floats possible prosecution if pharmacies don't dispense potential abortion-causing RXs

Administration may also prosecute over denial of emergency contraception.
Joe Biden, Jul. 13

The Biden administration on Wednesday issued a warning to pharmacies nationwide that it may seek prosecution if they refuse to fill prescriptions for drugs that could possibly be used to cause abortion. 

The administration via the Department of Health and Human Services said in a guidance letter on Wednesday that the nation's roughly 60,000 pharmacies, "as recipients of federal financial assistance," are required to avoid, in part, "pregnancy discrimination," which the White House said includes "discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth."

The guidance said that a pharmacy might be "discriminating on the basis of sex" if it refuses to fill prescriptions related to life-saving abortion procedures and ectopic pregnancy syndromes.

But the White House further suggested that pharmacies may be subject to prosecution if they refuse to fill prescriptions of potentially abortion-causing drugs such as misoprostol or methotrexates "because of [the drugs'] alternate uses." In those instances, the pharmacies could be discriminating on the basis of disabilities, the White House argued. 

Those drugs can be used to treat conditions such as stomach ulcers and rheumatoid arthritis, though their utility as abortion-inducing drugs have been noted by pro-choice advocates in the weeks since Roe v. Wade's repeal.

“We are committed to ensuring that everyone can access health care, free of discrimination,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in the release. “This includes access to prescription medications for reproductive health and other types of care.”

The measure is "the latest step in the HHS’ response to protect reproductive health care," the press release said.