Walgreens on Thursday said it won’t sell an abortion pill by mail in 20 conservative-led states.
The statement comes after attorneys general in 20 states last month warned Walgreens and CVS that they could face legal consequences if they sell abortion pills by mail in those states.
Walgreens spokesperson Fraser Engerman confirmed that the company sent a response to each of the attorneys general saying that it will not dispense mifepristone in their states.
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Nineteen U.S. states have imposed restrictions on abortion pills, but there’s a court battle over whether they have the power to do so in defiance of U.S. Food and Drug Administration policy. A physician and a company that makes the pill mifepristone filed separate lawsuits earlier this year seeking to strike down bans in North Carolina and West Virginia.
The FDA for more than 20 years limited dispensing of the drug to a subset of specialty offices and clinics because of safety concerns. But it eased restrictions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic by eliminating the in-person requirement for the pill and allowing brick-and-mortar pharmacies to dispense it. At least one lawsuit filed by abortion opponents argues that the FDA has overstepped its authority in approving the abortion drugs.
Engerman said the company is not currently dispensing mifepristone, although it is working to become eligible through an FDA-mandated certification process. That process requires pharmacies to meet specific standards in shipping, tracking and confidentially storing drug prescribing records.
He said the company “will dispense only in those jurisdictions where it is legal to do so if we are certified.”