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Republican AGs warn pharmacies against mailing abortion pills within their states

<i>Caitlin Ochs/Reuters</i><br/>A pack of Mifeprex pills
Caitlin Ochs/Reuters
A pack of Mifeprex pills

By Tierney Sneed

Republican attorneys general from 20 states wrote letters to executives at CVS and Walgreens warning the pharmacy chains against using the mail to dispense abortion pills in their states, in a shot against a new Biden administration policy.

The letters rebuke recent guidance from the Justice Department — issued in an opinion from the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel — that concluded the federal law did not prohibit the mailing of abortion pills. The release of the Justice Department opinion came ahead of the rollout of new rules from the Food and Drug Administration allowing certified pharmacies to dispense medication abortion with a prescription, including by mail order.

“We reject the Biden administration’s bizarre interpretation, and we expect courts will as well,” the GOP attorneys general wrote, while suggesting that they may bring civil litigation to challenge the claim that federal law allows the mailing of abortion pills.

“Obviously, a federal criminal law — especially one that is, as here, enforceable through a private right of action — deserves serious contemplation,” they wrote.

Some states prohibit the use of mail to deliver abortion pills. Missouri — whose attorney general, Andrew Bailey, spearheaded the letters — also “prohibits unfair or deceptive trade practices — and trade practices that violate federal law necessarily are unfair and deceptive,” the letters said.

Medication abortion — in which pregnancies are terminated with a two-pill regimen — now makes up a majority of the abortions obtained in the United States. Several states restrict medication abortion, some with blanket bans on abortion and others with specific limits on access to abortion pills. CVS and Walgreens have said that they intend to comply with federal and state law with their plans to dispense mifepristone, one of the two drugs used in medication abortion. (Pharmacies were previously allowed to distribute the second drug, misoprostol.)

Asked about the new letter from the attorneys general, a spokesperson for Walgreens said it is not dispensing mifepristone at this time.

“We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program, however we fully understand that we may not be able to dispense Mifepristone in all locations if we are certified under the program,” the spokesperson Fraser Engerman said in an email.

A spokesperson for CVS did not immediately respond to CNN’s inquiry.

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CNN’s Jacqueline Howard contributed to this story,

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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