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Walgreens says it won’t offer the abortion pill mifepristone in conservative states Story-level




A few weeks after Republican attorneys general in 21 states sent letters threatening legal action against retail pharmacy chains if they dispensed the abortion pill mifepristone, Walgreens said it would not distribute the pill in those states.

In January, after the Food and Drug Administration said it would allow retail pharmacies to become certified to dispense mifepristone, the tightly regulated drug that is the first pill in the two-drug medical abortion regimen, Walgreens, CVS and other pharmacies said they planned to do so in states where abortion is legal. The American Pharmacists Association said pharmacies would be very cautious about dispensing in any state where they might risk losing their license or facing other penalties.

Walgreens’ decision this week reflects that caution. In four of the states—Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana—abortion is still technically legal, but there are efforts to restrict it that would apply to abortion pills.

“This is a very complex and changing area of ​​the law, and we are taking that into account when seeking certification,” said a Walgreens spokesman, Fraser Engerman.

He said Walgreens told 20 attorneys general that they had jointly signed a letterand the Kansas attorney general, who sent a separate letterthat they would not be distributing mifepristone in their states.

The decision does not affect the second pill in the medical abortion regimen, misoprostol, which is used for various medical conditions and has long been available by prescription at retail pharmacies across the country.

A CVS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a question about whether the company had also decided not to dispense mifepristone in those 21 states, but in January, a spokeswoman said, “We plan to seek certification to dispense mifepristone where legally permitted.”

Politico reported Walgreens’ decision Thursday night. The chain’s decision not to dispense pills in Kansas was announced last month.

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