Bending to pressure from Republicans and a lawsuit filed in November 2022 by anti-abortion zealots, Walgreens announced Friday the stores would no longer distribute abortion medication in 20 states.
The suit targets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decades-long approval of the abortion medication mifepristone, the first in a set of two of drugs used to terminate a pregnancy.
“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.
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The 20 states Walgreens includes in its list are those where abortion is banned or restricted.
Walgreens sent a letter to the Kansas attorney general in early February addressing the state’s concerns, saying, "Walgreens does not intend to dispense Mifepristone within your state." The company additionally told NPR that it responded to all of the attorneys general and told them it has stopped distributing mifepristone in their states.
Republican attorneys general from 19 states sent letters to CVS, Costco, Walmart, Albertsons, and Kroger.
A statement from Rite Aid spokesperson Catherine Carter sent to CNN said, “Rite Aid is monitoring the latest federal, state, legal, and regulatory developments regarding mifepristone dispensing, and we will continue to evaluate the Company’s ability to dispense mifepristone in accordance with those developments.”
Medication abortion is at the center of the reproductive justice battle. A federal judge in Texas is set to rule soon on the abortion medication.
According to The Hill, conservative Judge Matthew Kacsmar, appointed by former President Donald Trump, is expected to rule against the FDA’s drug approval. Kacsmar has a history of opposition to abortion.
Mifepristone, used in conjunction with misoprostol, is the most common medication abortion regimen in the U.S.
Calls for a nationwide boycott of Walgreens are growing. Filmmaker Michael Moore has been vocal in calling for a boycott of the 9,200-store chain.
“This decision by Walgreens to further cement women’s status as second-class citizens must be met forcefully by each and every one of us. Every day of our silence since last Thursday is another day of you and I enabling this bigotry and misogyny,” Moore wrote on his website. “Please join with me and others in a NATIONWIDE BOYCOTT OF WALGREENS. They must reverse their decision immediately.”
According to California’s KRON, Gov. Gavin Newsom tore into the chain on Monday, saying the state would no longer be doing business with it. “California won’t be doing business with Walgreens or any company that cowers to extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”
“We’re done,” the California governor added.
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