CV NEWS FEED // Walgreens this week stated that it will not sell Mifepristone in Kansas after the state’s attorney general wrote a letter to the retail pharmacy giant warning that sending the abortion pills to Kansas would violate state and federal laws.
“Walgreens is not currently dispensing Mifepristone in any of its locations,” wrote Danielle C. Gray, Walgreen’s chief legal officer and executive vice president. “Walgreens does not intend to dispense Mifepristone within your state and does not intend to ship Mifepristone into your state from any of our pharmacies.”
The use of mail services to send abortion pills directly to women and the sale of Mifepristone at the retail level without medical oversight are a sharp departure from past norms. But these practices have become a high priority for the Biden administration as well as for abortion providers in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2022 decision striking down Roe vs. Wade.
While abortion promoters, including officials within the Biden administration, have endeavored to present the controversial move as safe and routine, the maneuver has been bumpy. As CatholicVote reported in early February, even the Food and Drug Administration warned of safety concerns over Mifepristone as recently as last year:
The FDA also recently voiced concerns over the safety of abortion-by-mail for mothers as demand for chemical abortion pills surged following the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision overturning Roe vs. Wade in June 2022.
“As the chief law enforcement officer in Kansas, I am writing to advise you that this plan is illegal and Kansas will not hesitate to enforce the law,” Attorney General Kris Kobach had written in his February 6 letter to Walgreens:
It is illegal to knowingly mail any article or thing designed, adapted or intended for producing abortion. It is also illegal to mail any article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion.
“Kobach also cited a Kansas law requiring women to take abortion drugs in the same room with the prescribing physician. That law is currently blocked by a court injunction,” reported Kansas.com:
Kansans for life, the state’s leading anti-abortion group, issued a statement hailing Walgreens’ decision and Kobach’s demands. “Kansans for Life applauds Attorney General Kobach for swift action to clearly communicate his firm resolve to stand for the rule of law,” said Danielle Underwood, KFL Director of Communications. “We call on other pharmacies to also commit to protecting the health and safety of women who would be endangered by the lack of monitoring of these deadly chemicals.”
The statement from Walgreens, addressed to Kobach, is the first example of a pharmacy balking in the face of legal confrontations since the Biden administration first announced that retail pharmacy companies could be certified to dispense abortion pills.
But Kobach is far from alone. Weeks after the Food and Drug Administration invited retail pharmacies to dispense abortion pills, 20 state attorneys general sent a letter to CVS and Walgreens threatening prosecution if the companies followed through on their plans to opt in. Federal law “expressly prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will ‘be used or applied for producing abortion,’” the attorneys general wrote:
The text could not be clearer: “every article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for producing abortion … shall not be conveyed in the mails.” And anyone who “knowingly takes any such thing from the mails for the purpose of circulating” is guilty of a federal crime.
The attorneys general also pointed out that, in addition to the federal code, pharmacies attempting to distribute abortion drugs would also find themselves up against prosecution under state laws.
“In Missouri, for example, it is unlawful to distribute an abortion drug through the mail. Missouri law also prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices—and trade practices that violate federal law necessarily are unfair and deceptive,” the letter concluded:
We emphasize that it is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states. Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that companies like yours are fully informed of the law so that harm does not come to our citizens.