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Pro-Lifers Cheer Major Pharmacy's Decision About Dispensing the Abortion Pill

Charlie Neibergall

While pro-life advocates had much cause for celebration when the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, the battle to defend innocent human life was far from over. Contrary to how the left portrayed the ruling, the decision simply kicked the issue back to the states to decide. But there was another issue pro-life proponents had to contend with: the surge in women seeking out the abortion pill—a trend that was taking place even before the June 24 ruling was handed down. 

According to the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, over half of the abortions in the U.S. were from the abortion pill in 2020, a figure that's only expected to grow and which makes it the most popular form of abortion in the country. 

In response, 20 GOP attorneys general wrote to major pharmacies last month threatening legal action if they dispense the abortion pill in their states. Only one so far—the country's second-largest pharmacy chain, Walgreens—confirmed Thursday it is not dispensing the abortion pill, even in states where it's legal, due to the unsettled policy landscape. 

The company told POLITICO that it has since responded to all the officials, assuring them that they will not dispense abortion pills either by mail or at their brick-and-mortar locations in those states.

The list includes several states where abortion in general, and the medications specifically, remain legal — including Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana. For example, Kansas’ law that patients only obtain the pills directly from a physician is blocked in court.

“There is currently complexity around this issue in Kansas and elsewhere,” said Fraser Engerman, Walgreens’ senior director of external relations. (POLITICO)

In its letter responding to Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, Walgreens also noted that it is "not currently dispensing Mifepristone in any of its locations." 

Walgreens is seeking certification to distribute the abortion pills from the Food and Drug Administration, however, but only in states "where it is legal to do so if we are certified." 

Kobach reacted to the decision. 

"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," he 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 moved in January to allow retail pharmacies to dispense the pills — part of a broader push to preserve and expand access to abortion as more states passed bans on the procedure. That decision followed a multiyear analysis by the FDA that found the pills were safe and effective to use without a doctor’s visit, a conclusion state attorneys general and anti-abortion groups are challenging in court.

Following the release of the FDA’s analysis, several chain pharmacies swiftly announced they would participate, but only in states that hadn’t banned or restricted access to the pills.

The group of Republican attorneys general, who argue that the Biden administration is misinterpreting the laws around mailing and dispensing abortion pills, also wrote to CVS, Albertsons, Rite Aid, Costco, Walmart and Kroger demanding they, too, refuse to dispense the medication. (POLITICO)

 Pro-life leaders praised Walgreens' decision. 

"This response indicates that pro-life concerns are being heard and that corporations are not rushing to take over the abortion business but are proceeding cautiously," said Students for Life spokesperson Kristi Hamrick. 

Live Action's Lila Rose, meanwhile, called it "great news." "After weeks of the pro-life movement protesting, Walgreens is backing down from distributing the lethal abortion pill in several states. Drugs that kill children don't belong in neighborhood pharmacies," she tweeted. "Keep the pressure on." 

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