Mar 7, 2023

California Ditches Walgreens Over Abortion Pill Policy

Sending abortive drugs by mail is still a federal crime.
California Ditches Walgreens Over Abortion Pill Policy

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What’s happening: California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would be severing its ties with Walgreens after the pharmacy giant announced its decision to stop selling mifepristone, an abortion pill, in 20 Republican states that threatened legal pushback.

Pushed in both directions: Republican attorneys general signed a letter to Walgreens, reminding the company that sending abortive drugs by mail is a federal crime. Although the Biden administration has sought to circumvent this federal statute by allowing companies to apply for a distribution certification for abortion pills, it is still a violation of federal law to mail abortion pills.

From both sides: Along with the legal explanation in the letter was a reminder of the dangers of mailing mifepristone to customers: “Outside the regulated medical context, a person can obtain an abortion pill quite easily and then coerce a woman into taking it.” Newsom, on the other hand, blasted the move, accusing Walgreens of “cower[ing] to the extremists” and endangering women’s health.

Big picture: It’s difficult for companies to balance their politics. Companies that move too far in one direction face backlash for being too political (e.g., Disney and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis). And companies that attempt to walk the line and pursue state-by-state policies are accused of cowardice and wrongdoing.

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