Missouri and Kansas are among nearly two dozen states in which Walgreens has agreed not to dispense mifepristone, the first of two drugs in the medication abortion process. Republican attorneys general in those states had stated their intentions in letters to several pharmacy chains last month, including CVS.
“In my letter to Walgreens, we made clear that Kansas will not hesitate to enforce the laws against mailing and dispensing abortion pills, including bringing a RICO action to enforce the federal law prohibiting the mailing of abortion pills,” Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach said. “Evidently, Walgreens understood that my office was serious about this. I’m grateful that Walgreens responded quickly and reasonably and intends to comply with the relevant laws.”
The Biden administration in January said it would allow retail pharmacies to dispense the pills. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration previously had said that pharmacies that become certified to dispense mifepristone can do so directly to someone who has a prescription from a certified prescriber.
Walgreens is not yet distributing abortion pills in any part of the country but is working to obtain certification to do so in certain states. “We intend to be a certified pharmacy and will distribute mifepristone only in those jurisdictions where it is legal and operationally feasible,” the company said in a statement.
CVS has not responded to the letter about abortificants.
Walgreens will not dispense abortion pills by mail or at their retail locations in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia. This list includes several states where abortion remains legal.
The Biden administration termed efforts to dissuade pharmacies from distributing abortion pills dangerous and unacceptable. “This is all a part of a continued effort by anti-abortion extremists who want to use this arcane law to impose a backdoor ban on abortion,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Medication abortion, which now accounts for a majority of abortions in the United States, has become a flashpoint in the fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade. A federal judge in Texas is expected to rule any day on a lawsuit seeking to block the use of medication abortion nationwide.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice