Gavin Newsom criticizes Walgreens for stopping selling abortion pills

Gavin Newsom criticizes Walgreens for stopping selling abortion pills

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) criticized Walgreens for stopping selling abortion pills in Republican states. He took to Twitter on Monday to say that California will not do business with companies that put women’s lives at risk and cower to the extremists.

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Newsom’s comment came after Walgreens announced that it will stop selling the abortion pill, mifepristone, in 20 states where Republican attorneys have warned that the pharmacy could be in legal jeopardy if it sells the drug through the mail.

The attorney general argued that federal criminal law prohibits using mail to distribute abortion drugs and noted that the law is enforceable through a private right of action. They also raised questions about the Biden administration’s interpretation of the law.

The 20 states that have informed Walgreens of their intention to block the sale of mifepristone by mail include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

Mifepristone is a drug that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 to cause an abortion or assist with a miscarriage up to the 10th week of pregnancy when used in combination with misoprostol. For over 20 years, due to safety concerns, the FDA only permitted mifepristone to be dispensed by speciality offices and clinics.

However, the agency has loosened those requirements. In 2021, it eliminated an in-person requirement for obtaining the drug and permitted it to be prescribed via telehealth and shipped by mail-order pharmacies.

The changes have seen the number of medication abortions rise, accounting for 54% of all U.S. abortions in 2020, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights. Earlier this year, the FDA allowed pharmacies like Walgreens to start dispensing the drug after they undergo certification, which entails meeting standards for shipping, tracking, and confidentially storing prescription information.

In response to Newsom’s comments, a Walgreens spokesperson said that the company plans to become a certified pharmacy to distribute mifepristone wherever legally possible to do so. Walgreens also stated that it plans to dispense mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible.

The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group opposed to abortion, filed a lawsuit in November seeking to revoke the FDA’s authorization of mifepristone, arguing that the FDA’s testing of the drugs wasn’t up to its full standards before its release onto the market over 20 years ago.

A ruling in the federal district court that has heard arguments in the ADF lawsuit against the FDA could come at any time, but the case may be appealed, leaving the timeline for a final resolution uncertain.

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