California Won't Do Business With Walgreens Over Abortion Pill Issue

Charlie Neibergall

California Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated that the state of California won’t do any more business with Walgreens Drug stores after the pharmacy giant said it would no longer sell abortion pills in some red states.


Newsom may have jumped the gun a little bit. After Newsom’s tweet, Walgreens clarified its position, saying that it planned to dispense the abortion pill mifepristone “in any jurisdiction where it was legally permissible to do so.”

A spokesman for Newsom, Brandon Richards, went further and claimed that obeying the law “put politics above the health of women and girls.”

“We will not pursue business with companies that cave to right-wing bullies pushing their extremist agenda or companies that put politics above the health of women and girls,” Richards said.

Related: Florida Warns Pharmacies Against Abortion Pills as FDA Pushes Them

Walgreens is simply following the law; if abortion pills are legal, they will dispense them. “Once we are certified by FDA, we will dispense this medication consistent with federal and state laws”, the company said.


So Walgreens isn’t “bowing to the extremists” as much as it’s bowing to the law. It might be of interest to point out that abetting lawbreaking, like Newsom is urging Walgreens to do, is illegal and should result in criminal penalties.


Walgreens did not immediately respond to a Reuters request to clarify whether it would dispense abortion pills in the 20 states where it was warned by Republican attorneys general.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January allowed retail pharmacies to sell abortion pill mifepristone, including by mail, provided they were certified under special safety rules for the drug.

Mifepristone is used to terminate more than 50% of abortions in the United States. A suit looking to revoke FDA approval of the drug is underway in Texas and could prove to be the most consequential abortion case since Dobbs.


The Food and Drug Administration in January allowed retail pharmacies to sell the abortion pill, mifepristone, if they are certified under an agency program that monitors how the medication is used and distributed.

Walgreens plans to become certified to sell mifepristone where it is legal to do so under state and federal law, the company has said. In February, 21 Republican attorneys general warned Walgreens against mailing mifepristone in their states.


There appears to be a strong consensus in the pro-life community that abortion pills should be banned in their states. Gov. Newsom apparently believes that even if abortion is illegal in a state, pharmacies should violate the law and sell abortion pills.

This is not about the wisdom of banning abortion pills. It’s about the law and whether people in their several states should have the final say in whether the pills should be sold or not.



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