Abortion Pill

19 state AGs warn Walmart, Costco, and others not to mail abortion pills

Nineteen attorneys general warned a group of pharmaceutical retailers of legal ramifications should they decide to mail abortion pills.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, along with 18 other attorneys general, sent a letter to retailers like Walmart, Kroger, and Costco encouraging them not to send abortion pills through the mail. “We write to advise you of why the FDA’s invitation is unlawful and risky and to urge you to continue rejecting it,” the letter said. “[Y]ou may not yet be aware that federal law expressly prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will ‘be used or applied for producing abortion.’

“Although many people are unfamiliar with this statute because it has not been amended in a few decades, 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.”

In addition to Missouri, the letter was signed by AGs from Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Okahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

A similar letter was sent last month to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies, pointing out that distributing the abortion pill through the mail violates federal and state laws. Currently, 19 states have restrictions on abortion pill distribution.

Walgreens CVS banner

Both letters pointed out that chemical abortions are riskier than first-trimester surgical abortions, with the most recent letter citing a recent study by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG), which found that chemical abortions were 5.96 times as likely to have complications as aspiration abortions.

“Abortion pills carry the added risk that when these heightened complications invariably occur, women suffer those harms at home, away from medical help,” the letter said. “And finally, mail-order abortion pills also invite the horror of an increase in coerced abortions. When abortion drugs are mailed or consumed outside a regulated medical facility, the risk of coercion is much higher — indeed, guaranteed — because there is no oversight. Outside the regulated medical context, a person can obtain an abortion pill quite easily and then coerce a woman into taking it.”

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