Abortion Pill

New York officials seek to ensure pharmacies distribute abortion pill in their state

New York government leaders sent a letter on March 9 to Walgreens, CVS, and Rite Aid, asking the three pharmacy giants to confirm their plans to sell the abortion pill in New York state.

“Recent national events have spotlighted the critical role that pharmacies play in providing access to essential health care, including reproductive health care. That is why we write to you today to ask that you commit to making medication abortion available in your retail and mail-order pharmacies across New York State,” the letter began.

The letter, sent by Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Leticia James, went on to note the many things that the state has done to strengthen abortion access, including creating an abortion access fund and creating a “Task Force for Reproductive Rights.”

It also references the letter sent by 20 Attorneys General (and an additional letter sent separately by an AG from another state), who warned the pharmacies that abortion pill distribution in certain manners would be considered illegal in their states.

“We urge you not to allow these tactics to intimidate you, and to commit to making this critical medication available as widely as possible, based on a fair and unbiased interpretation of state and federal law,” Hochul and James wrote.

The duo then asked the pharmacies to definitely state whether or not they will distribute abortion pills both in their physical locations and through the mail. They requested a response within 10 days. However, Walgreens, for its part, recently issued a now-pinned tweet with a general response saying that where it is legal to do so, they plan to distribute the abortion pill.

“New Yorkers urgently need clarity on these questions, as reproductive rights are curtailed and undermined across the nation,” they concluded.

All three pharmacies announced their plans to receive certification to distribute the abortion pill following the FDA’s January announcement that the chemical abortion procedure would be available at participating pharmacies, with a prescription. Walgreens is the only pharmacy thus far to clarify that it does not intend to distribute in the 21 states that have asked it not to do so.

The letter from the New York leaders comes on the heels of California Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement last week that his state would no longer be doing business with Walgreens, after the pharmacy’s confirmation that it would follow the law, and only distribute where it is legal to do so.

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