California Governor, Gavin Newson, announced on Monday that the state of California will cease business with the pharmacy chain Walgreens. This decision was made after it became known that Walgreens would not sell mifepristone, one of the two abortion medications, in about 20 Republican-dominated states.
“We intend to be a certified pharmacy and will distribute Mifepristone only in those jurisdictions where it is legal and operationally feasible,” Walgreens said in a statement.
This compelled the Governor of California to respond with, "California won't be doing business with @walgreens – or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women's lives at risk," which was said in a tweet on Monday with a link to news coverage of Walgreen's decision. "We're done," he added.
Walgreens declined to comment on the Governor of California’s tweet.
California is currently “reviewing all relationships between Walgreens and the state,” said Newsom spokesman Brandon Richards. Richard also accused the company of giving in to “right wing bullies,” instead of standing up for what is right. Walgreens shares fell 1.77% on Monday following Newsom's announcement.
The Washington Post reported that Walgreens had committed to not selling mifepristone in 20 states due to threats made by Republican state leaders last month. Some of these states include Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana, where abortion medication can be accessed, according to the sexual rights research group Guttmacher Institute, though it may be becoming harder as those rules are being tightened.
It is hard to imagine any state cutting ties with Walgreens as they are one of the largest drugstore chains in America, operating about 9,000 retail stores. California, however, has immense buying power in the healthcare market and would be on track to being the world’s fourth largest economy if it were its own country. About 13 million Californians rely on the state's Medicaid program.
If California carries through with this plan Walgreens will definitely feel their departure. For example, even if the state only cut Walgreens out of state employee insurance plans, the company might see a big financial impact: The state insures more than 200,000 full-time employees, and another 1.5 million are covered by CalPERS, its retirement insurance program.
Several women and people with uteruses rely on medicated abortions, as opposed to surgery, as they account for more than half of all abortions done in the U.S., resulting in it being the most popular way to terminate a pregnancy.
In addition to Republicans' legal threats against wider distribution of mifepristone, a current federal case in Texas is challenging the FDA's approval of the drug, with the goal of removing it from the market altogether.
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