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Is Walgreens Getting Kicked Out of California?


Walgreens announced Friday that the pharmacy store chain will not sell abortion medication in 20 states.

After receiving a letter in February from GOP attorneys general in those states, Walgreens decided they will not dispense Mifepristone, one of the drugs used in the medication abortion process.

CNN reported:

“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.

The US Food and Drug Administration had previously said that pharmacies that become certified to dispense mifepristone can do so directly to someone who has a prescription from a certified prescriber.

A spokesperson for Rite Aid said the pharmacy chain is monitoring developments.

“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,” spokesperson Catherine Carter told CNN in a statement.

Medication abortion, which now accounts for a majority abortions obtained in the United States, has become a flashpoint in the fallout from the Supreme Court’s decision last year overturning Roe v. Wade.

A federal judge in Texas is expected to rule any day on a lawsuit seeking to block the use of medication abortion nationwide, in the biggest abortion-related case since the Supreme Court overturned Roe.

“We want to be very clear about what our position has always been: Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so,” Walgreens said in a statement Monday evening.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom isn’t pleased about the pharmacy chain’s stance.

Newsom said the blue state won’t do business with “any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”

“We’re done,” he added.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Newsom’s missive is the latest political maneuver from the governor in the national battle between red and blue states over abortion rights since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe vs. Wade decision last summer.

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Using the force of the California economy, Newsom is attempting to push back on the pressure GOP leaders are putting on retailers to cut off access to abortion medication in their states.

Attorneys general in 20 GOP-led states sent a letter to Walgreens and CVS last month threatening legal action if the retailers sold abortion pills by mail in their respective states. On Friday, Walgreens responded and said it would not sell the medication in those states.

Newsom’s tweet, his spokesman said, was “a shot across the bow.”

“Companies seem to be caving to political pressure from right-wing extremists and there are consequences for those decisions,” Anthony York said.

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. fell 1.8% on Monday after Newsom’s announcement. The Illinois retailer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How California might stop doing business with Walgreens and what impact such a move could have on Californians was not immediately clear. Newsom’s aides said his administration did not have any details on what cutting ties would entail and is only now reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state, including Medi-Cal and Covered California contracts.


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