'Blatant contradictions': Walgreens leaves experts 'very concerned' after ending abortion pill distribution
Walgreens will stop distributing abortion pills in states where it is still legal, following threats from anti-abortion state officials, Politico reports.
This comes after GOP attorneys general warned both Walgreens and CVS last month to cease the distribution of abortion pills or "legal action will be taken," according to The Week.
The group of state officials proceeded to threaten the two healthcare giants although the Department of Justice (DOJ) Legal Counsel confirmed abortion pill delivery is allowed even "to states that have strict limits on abortion."
READ MORE: GOP Attorneys General warn CVS and Walgreens against delivering abortion pills
As a result, Walgreens told POLITICO "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.
According to Slate, since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, instead of seeking abortion procedures from clinics, many patients use pills to "terminate their pregnancies," considering "medication abortions are 18 times safer than childbirth, very reliable, and easy to access."
READ MORE: How 'the most lawless jurist in the country' could ban medical abortions 'in all 50 states': journalists
Advisor for state government affairs with the American Pharmacists Association, E. Michael Murphy, said members of the organization are "struggling to navigate 'blatant contradictions between state and federal law that make it very challenging to identify what is legal and what is not legal.'"
He said, "We are very concerned with those reports, because we as pharmacists want to ensure the patients have access to the best possible care that's informed by evidence."
Republican officials threatening the healthcare conglomerate are pleased with its decision to comply.
"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," Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach 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."
READ MORE: 'Control — that’s all they care about': How Tennessee's 'unconstitutional' anti-abortion law imperils women
Walgreens Senior Director of External Relations Fraser Engerman asserted, "There is currently complexity around this issue in Kansas and elsewhere."
Like Kobach, Kristi Hamrick, spokesperson for anti-abortion group Students for Life, is pleased with the company's 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," Hamrick said.
However, advocates like abortion-rights Guttmacher Institute's state policy expert, Elizabeth Nash, share similar concerns with Murphy.
READ MORE: Corporate America has little, if anything, to say about abortion
"They're denying people agency over their lives," Nash said. "When we’re thinking about states that have a lot of their population in rural areas, it's much more likely that a pharmacy is nearby than a provider's office, so these pharmacies play an outsized role in patient health and access to health care."
READ MORE: Abortion has been globalized
Politico's full report is available at this link. The Week's report is here.
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