Walgreens won’t sell abortion pills in 20 Republican-led states, even where it’s still legal

The country’s second-largest pharmacy will not sell the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, even in states where abortion is still legal.

It comes amid mounting pressure from anti-abortion policymakers and activists not to carry the drug. Mifepristone makes up half of the combination used to induce drug abortion.

Walgreens responded a letter sent last month by nearly two dozen Republican attorneys general threatening legal action against the company if it stocked the drugs.

The chain said it would not distribute abortion pills either by mail or in physical stores in those states. In some of the affected states, such as Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana, using the pills for abortion is still legal.

Medication-induced abortion has been a lifeline for women in blue states and even red states since the Supreme Court lifted the federal guarantee for abortion. However, a lawsuit in Texas jeopardizes legal access as anti-abortion activists seek to overturn the drug’s FDA approval

It comes just a few months after the Biden administration updated a regulation to allow mifepristone, part of a two-drug cocktail to induce miscarriage, to be held on prescription and dispensed to pharmacies for pregnant women. people.

GOP attorneys from these states sent letters to CVS, Rite Aid, Albertsons, Costco, Kroger, and Walmart.

In a response, Danielle Gray of the Walgreens legal team saidTo be certified by the FDA, as you know, participating pharmacies must meet a series of safety and risk mitigation requirements to dispense this drug.

“We are currently working on the certification process, including the evaluation of our pharmacy network to determine where we will dispense Mifepristone and on training protocols and updates for our pharmacists.”

Walgreens’ decision to delay supplies of the drug represents yet another hurdle millions of women face in the pursuit of a safe abortion.

Mifepriston’s future is tenuous at best. A lawsuit filed in February by anti-abortion activists in Texas challenging the Food and Drug Administration’s two-decade-old approval of mifepristone.

The judge appointed for the case, Matthew Kacsmaryk, is a devout conservative and Donald Trump appointee. He is expected to side with the pro-life activists.

Taking the side of the plaintiffs would significantly disrupt access to abortion across the country. It would secure access to an abortion, even in states with no restrictions on the procedure.

It is likely that pro-choice advocates will appeal Kacsmaryk’s ruling.

The FDA has relaxed restrictions on abortion-inducing drugs in recent years.

The combination of drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, will be available from local pharmacies in early 2023.

Women can also be prescribed the pills via telemedicine and have them mailed to them by a foreign provider.

According to the Justice Department, the U.S. Postal Service can legally deliver abortion pills to people in states where the procedure is banned or restricted, saying federal law allows sending the pills because the sender has no way of knowing for sure whether the recipient use them illegally.

Medical abortion has become the most common method of terminating a pregnancy.

In 2020, the two-drug cocktail was responsible for 54 percent of all abortions in the U.S., compared to about 44 percent in 2019.

This is due in part to the rise of telemedicine and a general preference to stay away from doctors’ offices during the pandemic.

The legal landscape for abortion has been in near constant flux since the Supreme Court dealt a fatal blow to legal access to abortion in the June 2022 decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

Abortion rights advocates in both blue states and states with abortion restrictions have taken comfort in the fact that mifepristone, a drug proven to be safer than carrying a pregnancy to term, will always be available with a doctor’s input.

But the Texas lawsuit, in addition to mounting pressure like what GOP lawyers show here, seriously jeopardizes access to the drug.

For many women, the medication is their only option for terminating a pregnancy.


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