Major Pharmacies to Sell Abortion Pill

Major Pharmacies to Sell Abortion Pill

CVS and Walgreens, the two largest pharmacy chains in the United States, announced last Friday, March 1, that they will begin selling abortion pills in certain states as soon as this month.

CVS said it would begin filling prescriptions for mifepristone—commonly called the abortion pill—in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, while Walgreens said it would dispense the drug at some of its stores in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania.

The chains’ announcements came as the Supreme Court is set to review a decision by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last August that restored some safeguards that the Food and Drug Administration had removed regarding the drug. That ruling also prohibited dispensing of the abortion pill by mail. Oral arguments at the Supreme Court are scheduled for March 26.

Walgreens said its phased rollout of the drug would ensure safety, but safety is one of the key concerns highlighted by the pro-life doctors and medical associations who are part of the case to be heard at the Supreme Court. A brief filed by Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine details some of the potentially life-threatening complications that doctors have treated in women who have taken the abortion pill.

“One doctor has treated ‘at least a dozen cases of life-threatening complications,’ …  another has treated at least a dozen women ‘suffering significant bleeding,’ … and a third described the many ‘near misses’ where women face ‘potentially deadly situations,’” the brief says.

Erin Hawley, senior counsel with ADF, said: “Women should have the ongoing care of a doctor when taking high-risk drugs. The FDA’s own label for abortion drugs says that roughly one in 25 women who take them will end up in the emergency room. But the FDA recklessly removed its original safeguards like in-person doctor visits, leaving women to suffer serious complications alone. It’s appalling that the FDA would eliminate even the initial in-person visit to check for life-threatening conditions like ectopic pregnancy based on studies it said were ‘not adequate.’ Women deserve better, which is why dozens of states, members of Congress, doctors, and advocacy groups joined with us in urging the Supreme Court to hold the FDA accountable for endangering women’s health.”

Above: Dr. Christina Francis and ADF Senior Counsel Erin Hawley speak at a press conference following a hearing at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in New Orleans on May 17, 2023.

Photo: Courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom

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