December 2, 2023

In this photo illustration, packages of mifepristone pills are displayed at a Planned Parenthood clinic on April 13, 2023 in Rockville, Maryland.

Anna Cash Cow | Getty Images

House Democrats called on Thursday walmart, costco, hook upSafeway and Health Mart have publicly committed to selling the prescription abortion drug mifepristone in their retail pharmacies.

Pending lawsuits have jeopardized the approval of mifepristone in the U.S., which is currently the most commonly used method of terminating pregnancy in the country.

For months, the five companies have been mum on whether they would be certified to sell mifepristone under an Food and Drug Administration program that monitors how patients dispense and use the drug.

“It is unconscionable that five of the largest retail pharmacies in the country will refuse to announce whether they will be certified to provide basic, legal, FDA-approved medical abortion healthcare to Americans,” said Rep. · Goldman (Dan Goldman) said. in a statement on Thursday.

Goldman Sachs and Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., sent a letter CEOs of companies are required to confirm by June 23 whether their pharmacies will be certified to sell abortion pills.

More than 50 other Democratic lawmakers signed the letter.

“Your continued silence is unacceptable because it is inconsistent with your publicly stated values ​​of supporting equal access to health care and gender equality,” the lawmakers told the chief executives in the letter.

Democratic governors and senators asked the companies in March whether their pharmacies would be licensed to dispense the drugs. The companies have yet to comment publicly on the issue.

The nation’s largest retail pharmacy finds itself increasingly in the middle of a nationwide abortion fight sparked by the Supreme Court’s decision last June to overturn Roe v. Wade.More than a dozen states have banned abortion since the high court overturned a landmark 1973 decision According to the US Constitution.

As conservative states implemented abortion bans after Roe fell, the FDA in January sought to expand access to mifepristone, allowing retail pharmacies to dispense the drug for the first time if certified.

The agency also permanently allows women to get birth control pills by mail.

CV and walgreensthe two largest pharmacy chains in the United States, said shortly after the FDA decision that they would be certified to sell mifepristone where it is legal to dispense the drug.

The companies quickly faced backlash from Republican state attorneys general who feared that easier access to mifepristone, especially by mail, would undermine their states’ restrictive abortion laws or ban them outright.

The Republican attorney general has warned the chief executives of CVS and Walgreens that they will take legal action if the companies sell the pill in their states. Walgreens confirmed to the Attorney General that the company will not sell mifepristone in their state.

Walgreens was subsequently hit by California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The liberal governor declined to renew the state contract with Walgreens over his move.

Mifepristone’s status as an FDA-approved drug faces a very uncertain future, even in states where abortion is still legal.

Last November, a group of anti-abortion doctors sued the FDA to remove mifepristone entirely from the U.S. market.

U.S. Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk of the Northern District of Texas ruled in April in favor of anti-abortion doctors and suspended the FDA approval. The Supreme Court intervened in the case and retained access to mifepristone at the conclusion of the lawsuit.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is now hearing the case and could rule at any time. During oral arguments in May, an appeals court judge appeared skeptical of the Justice Department’s defense of mifepristone.

The case could head to the Supreme Court again, especially if an appeals court rules that mifepristone is ineffective.

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