Walgreens won’t sell abortion pills in 20 GOP states

Walgreens will not sell abortion pills in several states where abortion remains legal, the drugstore giant announced Thursday.

The move comes after Republican attorneys general in 20 states sent Walgreens a letter saying the company could face legal consequences if it sells abortion drugs in those states.

“We emphasize that it is our responsibility as state attorneys general to uphold the law and protect the health, safety and well-being of women and unborn children in our states,” said a February 1 letter signed by attorneys general in states where abortion is legal and illegal.

Walgreens said it responded to each attorney general and said it would not sell abortion pills — by mail or in their stores — in those states. Among them are states where abortion is illegal, such as Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas and West Virginia.

But Walgreens also said it would not sell the pills in states where abortion remains legal, such as Alaska, Florida, Iowa and Montana.

“This is a very complex and ever-changing area of ​​the law, and we take that into account when seeking certification to distribute mifepristone,” said Fraser Engerman, senior manager of external relations at Walgreens, referring to an abortifacient drug that can terminate a pregnancy at less than 10 weeks.

“We do not currently distribute mifepristone. We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program, but we will only distribute in jurisdictions where it is legal to do so if we are certified,” added Engermann.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, who signed the February letter, said in a Facebook Statement Wednesday that he wants to make sure “pharmacies across the country aren’t overturning state and federal laws to ship abortion pills through the mail.”

“My Office is doing everything in its power to inform these companies of the law, with the promise that we will do everything in our power to protect women and children,” he wrote.

Medical abortion accounted for more than half of all abortions in the United States in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research organization that advocates for access to abortion.

Access to abortion pills is currently legal in one form or another in 37 states. Medical abortion is legal in 22 states, but in 15 states it must be ordered by a physician, not other clinicians, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

The group also sent letters to CVS, Rite Aid, Albertsons, Costco, Kroger and Walmart. Those companies did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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