POLITICO – The nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain confirmed Thursday that it will not dispense abortion pills in several states where they remain legal — acting out of an abundance of caution amid a shifting policy landscape, threats from state officials and pressure from anti-abortion activists.
Nearly two dozen Republican state attorneys general wrote to Walgreens in February, threatening legal action if the company began distributing the drugs, which have become the nation’s most popular method for ending a pregnancy.
The company told POLITICO that 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.
“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.”
“There is currently complexity around this issue in Kansas and elsewhere,” said Fraser Engerman, Walgreens’ senior director of external relations.
The company stressed that it is not yet distributing the pills anywhere in the country, but is working to obtain certification to do so in some states, though declined to say which.
Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach said in a statement:
“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 … ”