Newsom banned Walgreens from California State business after the abortion pill decision
(CNN) California will halt all of its business with drugstore retail chain Walgreens, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday, days after the company announced it would not sell abortion drugs in 21 Republican-dominated states.
“California will not do business with @walgreens – or any company that ducks extremists and puts women’s lives at risk,” the Democratic governor tweeted. “We’re done.”
Newsom’s rejection came at an already difficult time for the future of medical abortion, which is used in more than half of all procedures statewide, as a Texas judge weighs imposing a ban on mifepristone, the first pill in a two-drug abortion regimen. Walgreens had responded to legal pressure from Republican attorneys general in 21 states — including a handful where abortion remains legal — and decided to partially halt its efforts to sell the drug.
“We intend to be a certified dispensary and will only distribute mifepristone in those jurisdictions where it is legally and operationally feasible,” the company said in a statement last week.
Walgreens declined to comment on Newsom’s tweet.
The clash between Newsom and Walgreens, a giant chain with thousands of stores across the country, marks the latest altercation following the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. to fall Wade. Last June’s verdict shook national politics ahead of the 2022 midterm elections – with many Democrats blaming the backlash for supporting their candidates in tough state and seat races – and complicated relations between politicians and business leaders.
The state is currently reviewing “all relationships between Walgreens and the state,” Newsom spokesman Brandon Richards said. He also accused the company of giving in to “right-wing thugs”.
Newsom’s office announced Wednesday that California would “withdraw” an extension to a $54 million contract with Walgreens that would have been effective May 1, 2023.
California’s Department of General Services has contracted with the retailer “to source prescription drugs for specialty pharmacies” used primarily by the state’s Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and its Correctional Health System, Newsom’s office said in a release .
The state will explore other options “to provide the same services,” his office said.
CNN has reached out to Walgreens for comment on Wednesday’s announcement.
Late last week, Democratic State Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement criticizing Walgreens for bowing to political pressure from GOP officials.
“Medication-induced abortions are safe, effective, and serve as a lifeline for people who need critical care, particularly those from vulnerable and underserved communities,” Bonta said Friday. “I am disappointed that Walgreens has decided to give in to political pressure from anti-abortion advocates and cut off access to these necessary and life-saving drugs.”
The company tried to clarify its position on Monday, although its recent statement only added to the confusion.
“Walgreens plans to distribute mifepristone in all jurisdictions where permitted by law,” the company said. Medical abortion is legal and accessible in states like Kansas and Iowa, among others, despite opposition from leading Republicans who have threatened legal action.
In a letter to Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach, an anti-abortion Republican, last month, Walgreens said it “does not intend to sell mifepristone in your state and does not intend to ship mifepristone to your state from any of our dispensaries. “
Abortion remains protected by Kansas state law. Last summer, the state voted overwhelmingly to block lawmakers’ efforts to ban the trial after the Supreme Court ruled less than two months earlier to rule Roe v. to fall Wade.
The US Food and Drug Administration said in early January that pharmacies certified to dispense mifepristone can do so directly to someone who has a prescription from a prescribing doctor.
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Taylor Romine and Jack Forrest contributed to this report.