Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by BVN
Major pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have announced that they will start offering medication abortions in their stores.
The decision comes after receiving certification from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and has been welcomed by a coalition of 23 attorneys general (AGs) from across the country, led by California AG Rob Bonta, Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, and Washington AG Bob Ferguson.
Medication abortion involves taking two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, which have been approved for use by the FDA as safe and effective medications for over 20 years. These pills are not only used for abortions, but also to treat other health issues such as miscarriages and gastric ulcers. By making these medications available at their pharmacies, CVS and Walgreens will enable millions of individuals to more easily access critical and sometimes life saving healthcare.
The decision by CVS and Walgreens to offer medication abortion has been met with widespread support from reproductive health advocates and medical professionals, who say it will help expand access to safe and effective care, particularly for those living in areas with limited access to abortion clinics.
“Do not be deterred by anti-abortion states trying to curtail reproductive freedoms — their legal assertions are meritless and their rhetoric is empty. Restricting access to medication abortion does not make people safer, it only forces them to turn to desperate and unsafe measures. It takes away choice and freedom, and endangers people’s lives. California stands proudly with our partners today in full support of protecting and expanding access to reproductive care across the nation,” said Bonta.
Planned Parenthood weighs in
Dr. Bhavik Kumar, Medical Director at Planned Parenthood Northern California, said the move is a great step forward in ensuring that people who want or need an abortion have access to safe and effective care. “Medication abortion is a safe and proven method for ending a pregnancy, and making it more accessible will help more people get the care they need,” Dr. Kumar said.
The move by CVS and Walgreens to offer medication abortion also comes at a time when access to reproductive healthcare is under attack in many parts of the country. Conservative lawmakers have been passing restrictive abortion laws and attempting to limit access to contraception and other reproductive health services.
There are some groups of people who remain especially vulnerable to the perils of restricted access to care, including people from marginalized communities such as people of color, disabled people, those from low-income households, LGBTQ individuals, and those residing in rural areas. These communities often struggle to access essential medical care in a timely and safe manner. This further highlights the need to make reproductive care more accessible for all.
Many are hopeful that more pharmacies will follow suit and offer medication abortion, making it easier for people to access safe and effective reproductive healthcare. AGs Bonta, Rosenblum, and Ferguson were joined by the AGs of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont in filing the letter to CVS and Walgreens. A copy is available here.