National News

California Pulls $54M Contract from Walgreens Over Abortion Pill Ban

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is seen in Los Angeles June 9, 2022. (Photo: Catholic News Service)

By The Tablet Staff

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — California Governor Gavin Newsom said on March 8 that the state will revoke its $54 million contract with Walgreens after the pharmacy giant stated it would not sell an abortion pill by mail in states that have outlawed its use.

“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” Newsom said in a statement. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.”

The governor’s office went on to say the state will buy the drugs it issues to Californians elsewhere. Walgreen’s spokespeople did not immediately respond to Newsom’s directive.

Prior to the announcement, Walgreens said it plans to dispense the drug mifepristone “in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so.

“We are deeply disappointed by the decision by the state of California not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information, a company spokesperson told The Tablet.
“Walgreens is facing the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies, and no other retail pharmacies have said that they would approach this situation differently, so it’s unclear where this contract would now be moved,” the company said.
“Our position has always been that, once we are certified by the FDA, Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so, including the state of California,” Walgreens said.
“We will dispense this medication consistent with federal and state laws. Providing legally approved medications to patients is what pharmacies do, and is rooted in our commitment to the communities in which we operate.”

Mifepristone is used in combination with another drug to end a pregnancy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved it in 2000 for use up to the 10th week of pregnancy. 

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, mifepristone is used in more than half of all abortions in the U.S.

After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year, more than a dozen states restricted the use of chemical-induced abortion.

While Newsom said California will use its economic strength to change corporations’ conservative leanings, the $54 million hit to Walgreens may have little effect, as the company reported revenue of $132.7 billion in sales last fiscal year.