Washington, Jul 13 (EFE).- The United States government warned the country’s pharmacies on Wednesday that by law they must not deny access to medication that can cause abortion.
In a statement, the Department of Health and Human Services, led by Xavier Becerra, reminded 60,000 pharmacies that under federal civil rights laws they have an obligation to guarantee access to comprehensive reproductive health services, and not to discriminate.
“This includes supplying prescribed medications; making determinations regarding the suitability of prescribed medications for a patient; and advising a patient about prescribed medications and how to take them,” the “guidance” said.
“Under federal civil rights law, pregnancy discrimination includes discrimination based on current pregnancy, past pregnancy, potential or intended pregnancy, and medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth,” it added.
Wednesday’s guidance included a series of conditions, ranging from miscarriage to ectopic pregnancies and stomach ulcers, that are commonly treated with drugs that can cause abortion.
Since the country’s Supreme Court revoked legal protection for abortion in June, reports have appeared in the press and lawsuits have been filed against pharmacies in states such as Texas and Louisiana that refuse to sell pills linked to abortions.
This is the second reminder Becerra has sent on this issue to health professionals this week.
On Monday he reminded the country’s doctors in a letter that “emergency medical care includes abortion services.”
The letter “reaffirmed that [the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act] protects providers when offering legally-mandated, life- or health-saving abortion services in emergency situations.”
“Under the law, no matter where you live, women have the right to emergency care — including abortion care,” said Secretary Becerra.
Federal law supersedes any laws that individual states may pass to restrict abortion.
President Joe Biden asked his administration to take measures to protect access to reproductive health services for women after the Supreme Court ruling.
Most of the orders were directed at the Department of Health and Human Services, which was urged to expand access to abortion pills, guarantee that all patients have access to emergency medical services protected by law, and protect access to contraception.
He also asked it to increase communication efforts regarding access to reproductive health services and abortion.
Additionally, the White House and the attorney general committed to organizing a team of attorneys, legal associations and civic entities to defend patients, providers, and third parties seeking to access or offer reproductive health services across the country.
In recent weeks Biden has been criticized by some of his own party who say he is not doing enough to defend the right to abortion since the court ruling. EFE