Calls to boycott Walgreens swelled online on Friday after America’s second-largest drugstore said it will not distribute mifepristone, a drug that is the most common method of abortion in the country, in some states where it remains legal.
The announcement, first reported by Politico, comes after 20 Republican attorneys general sent a letter to the company threatening it with legal action if it distributed the drug in their states, including some where abortion isn’t banned.
Walgreens said it had responded to each attorney general to say it wouldn’t distribute the pill in their states, Politico reported. The drug, one part of a two-step regimen to induce abortion during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, is also used to treat other health conditions, including miscarriages and Cushing’s syndrome, which affects hormones.
By Friday morning #BoycottWalgreens was trending on Twitter. “Losing money is the only thing they understand as a threat to their business, not principles,” tweeted user Judi Cunningham.
“Protect and deliver access to ALL reproductive health care or get the hell out of the health care business,” wrote user Kay Hanley.
Under the policy, Walgreens would not distribute the drug in states which permit abortion, at least under some circumstances: Kansas, Florida, Georgia, Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, Ohio, South Carolina, and Utah.
After the Biden Administration announced in January that pharmacies can become certified to distribute mifepristone for the first time, Walgreens and the largest pharmacy chain, CVS Health, said that they would seek certification to dispense the pill
In a letter to Kris W. Kobach, the attorney general of Kansas, Walgreens said: “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. If this approach changes, we will be sure to notify you.”
In 2022, Kansas voters rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the legislature to ban abortion.
Anti-abortion groups had also pressured Walgreens and CVS not to dispense drugs that induce abortions. “We will be working with both federal and state lawmakers, along with consumers, to keep neighborhoods across America free from abortion if CVS and Walgreens ultimately go down this path,” Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said in a January statement.
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