GOP Attorneys General: CVS, Walgreens will violate laws by distributing abortion pills by mail

The issue emerged after the Supreme Court this past summer overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion and handing the matter to states. 
Gavel in legal office

Twenty GOP state attorneys general joined Wednesday to warn CVS and Walgreens that plans to distribute abortion pills through the mail would violate state and federal law.

The effort is being led by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, according to Fox News.

"As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to enforce the laws as written, and that includes enforcing the very laws that protect Missouri's women and unborn children," Bailey says.

In a letter sent Wednesday to the chain drug stores, Bailey wrote that many people are not aware that federal law expressly prohibits using the mail to send or receive any drug that will be used or applied for producing abortion.

The letter also cites language in the law stating that anything used for abortion "shall not be conveyed in the mail," and that anyone who "knowingly takes any such thing from the mails for purpose of circulating" would be found guilty in federal court.

The retail-online pharmacies announced their intention to mail the pills after the Biden administration developed a plan last month to change a Food and Drug Administration rule that would allow such companies to apply for a certification to distribute a two-step abortion-inducing drug, Fox News also reports.

The issue emerged after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade this past summer, ending the constitutional right to an abortion and handing the matter over to the states. 

Nineteen states have since imposed restrictions on abortion pills, amid a court battle over whether they have such power in defiance of Food and Drug Administration policy.

A physician and a company that makes the pill mifepristone filed separate lawsuits last month, seeking to strike down bans in North Carolina and West Virginia, according to the Associated Press

The FDA has, for decades, limited the dispensing of the drug over safety concerns, to a small group of specialty offices and clinics.

Since the start of the pandemic, however, the agency eased restrictions, eliminating the in-person requirement for the pill and allowing brick-and-mortar pharmacies to dispense it. At least one lawsuit filed by abortion opponents argues that the FDA has overstepped its authority in approving the abortion drugs, the Associated Press also reports. 

Walgreens says it's not dispensing mifepristone but it is working on becoming eligible through an FDA-mandated certification process, requiring pharmacies to meet specific standards in shipping, tracking and confidentially -- storing drug prescribing records, also according to the AP. 

CVS did not return messages from the wire service. 

The other 19 attorneys generals who took part of the effort are: Steven Marshall of Alabama, Treg Taylor of Alaska, Tim Griffin of Arkansas, Ashley Moody of Florida, Chris Carr of Georgia, Todd Rokita of Indiana, Breanna General of Iowa, Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, Lynn Fitch of Mississippi, Drew Wrigley of North Dakota, David Yost of Ohio, Grenter F. Drummond of Oklahoma, Alan Wilson of South Carolina, Marty Jackley of South Dakota, Ken Paxton of Texas and Sean Reyes of Utah.

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