Major Pharmacies Enter Abortion Pill Controversy

Major national pharmacy chains CVS and Walgreens have announced they will begin selling the abortion pill mifepristone in several states. The announcement comes as the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments in a case arising from Texas about the drug’s approval for national distribution.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which first approved mifepristone in 2000, has recently expanded the drug’s availability, now making it available at large pharmacy chains through approved mail-order companies. The expansion in availability comes amid growing concerns over the safety and ethical implications of the drug, which is used to terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks. Texas is challenging the FDA’s decision to make mifepristone much easier to obtain, given its safety and how it relates to the Lone Star State’s regulatory framework protecting unborn life.

The FDA’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) certifications, which CVS and Walgreens have received, ensure the drug’s safe dispensation. Yet, this regulatory measure has been criticized for not adequately reflecting the potential risks associated with mifepristone.

Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America has been one of the leading voices condemning the pharmacies’ decision, highlighting the drug’s dangers and the ethical issues it implicates. Katie Daniel, the group’s state policy director, said, “The decision by CVS and Walgreens to sell dangerous abortion drugs is shameful, and the harm to unborn babies and their mothers incalculable.”

The controversy surrounding mifepristone is not just about the drug itself but also about the broader battle over abortion rights in America. The Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned the Roe v. Wade decision that found a federal constitutional right to abortion, has led to a fragmented legal landscape. States now have the authority to set their own abortion laws and regulations. The multifaceted approach, as envisioned by America’s founders, is leading to litigation in various federal courts.

Since the Dobbs decision was issued, the White House has undertaken a broad push to expand access to abortion, taking an aggressive stance against the states that have increased regulations to protect the unborn.

The upcoming Supreme Court case, set to be argued on March 26, will be a critical juncture in the ongoing abortion debate. It is expected to directly affect the future availability of mifepristone and will also indicate how the court will abortion issues in the post-Dobbs era. The court is expected to issue its ruling before its current term concludes around the end of June.