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Walgreens faces boycott over compliance with laws prohibiting distribution of abortion pills by mail
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Walgreens faces boycott over compliance with laws prohibiting distribution of abortion pills by mail

Walgreens, the second-largest pharmacy chain in the United States, confirmed it will not dispense abortion pills in some states, including states where abortion is legal, Politico reported Thursday.

"This is a significant victory for the pro-life cause and for women’s health," Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach said in a statement.

"The dispensing of these pills without a supervising physician present would expose women to complications and potentially to coercion as well. I’m grateful Walgreens has responded quickly and reasonably and intends to fully comply with the law," Kobach's statement also says.

Hashtags including #Walgreens and #BoycottWalgreens both trended on Twitter Thursday night into Friday, according to Business Insider.

The company is not distributing the pills anywhere in the country, but is working on obtaining certification in certain states, Politico also reported.

The company's decision comes on the heels of a February 1 letter from 20 state attorneys general to Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Vice President Danielle Gray. Walgreens Boots Alliance retail and business brands include Walgreens, Duane Reade, and several others.

The letter's signatories remind WBA that sending abortion drugs like mifpristone through the mail is expressly prohibited by federal law. They further warn that many state laws similarly prohibit the practice.

"Abortion pills are far riskier than surgical abortions, according to established scientific consensus ... 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," the letter says, in part.

"It is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states. Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that companies like yours are fully informed of the law so that harm does not come to our citizens," the letter concludes.

Walgreens told Politico it had since assured the officials the company will not dispense the pills via mail nor in brick-and-mortar locations.

The states to which Walgreens has committed to abiding by federal and state laws prohibiting dispensing abortion drugs through the mail include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.

States where it may be legal, though Walgreens still will not be distributing there at this time, include Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, and Montana, several outlets reported.

A ruling expected soon from a federal judge in Texas could "potentially make [mifepristone] very difficult to come by in all states -- including those where abortion is legal," according to an opinion piece in the New York Times Sunday.

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