Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL-03) joined Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA-01) and Rep. Diana Harshbarger (R-TN-01) as a co-sponsor on their bill protecting pharmacists’ First Amendment rights with respect to the distribution of abortion pills.
This bill comes after the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued guidance warning pharmacists that they may be in violation of federal civil rights laws if they do not fill prescriptions for abortion pills, which prompt what is known as a chemical abortion.
Chemical abortion, also referred to as an at-home or self-managed abortion, is the termination of a pregnancy within the first trimester through the use of powerful drugs called Mifepristone and Misprostol. Due to the nature of these pills, abortions completed through this method go unsupervised and create the possibility for complication if done incorrectly. At present, this type of abortion makes up more than half of all abortions in the U.S. and has killed 24 women since its legalization in 2000.
“Pharmacists in the United States play a critical role in administering vital, and sometimes life-saving, medications to their patients,” said Rep. Cammack. “However, this does not make them immune from the protections of the First Amendment when a situation may conflict with their religious and/or moral beliefs. It’s reprehensible that HHS wants our pharmacists to make the decision between standing up for their beliefs and the safety of their patients, or risk losing their jobs.”
“Your First Amendment rights don’t go away when you put on a white coat,” said Rep. Carter. “This legislation will ensure that pharmacists are able to make the medical decisions that are best for the health of the mother, the life of the child, and the integrity of their practice without threats from non-medically trained bureaucrats. Medical decisions should be made between doctors, pharmacists, and patients – not the federal government.”
Original signees of the letter include Reps. Cammack (R-FL), Andrew Clyde (R-GA)
Bill Posey (R-FL), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Brian Babin (R-TX), Chris Smith (R-NJ), Dan Webster (R-FL), David McKinley (R-WV), Don Bacon (R-NE), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Greg Steube (R-FL), Jake Ellzey (R-TX), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Ken Buck (R-CO), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Mary Miller (R-IL), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Randy Weber (R-TX), Robert E. Aderholt (R-AL), Robert E. Latta (R-OH), Tracey Mann (R-KS), and Troy Balderson (R-OH).
The full bill text can be found here.