Boots owner embroiled in US abortion pill row after limiting access to treatment in some states
The Boots owner has been caught up in a major row over abortion rights in the US after the company restricted access to treatment in some states following threats of legal action.
US regulators have relaxed rules surrounding the sale of abortion pills, meaning pharmacies such as Walgreens Boots Alliance could sell them more widely.
But the largest US drugstore chain said it would not distribute the popular abortion pill mifepristone in 20 Republican-run states after receiving legal threats from party officials.
Legal threats: Walgreens Boots Alliance says it won’t distribute popular abortion pill mifepristone in 20 Republican-run states
In a letter sent to the company, they warned that Walgreens could face legal consequences if it distributes abortion pills in their states.
Walgreens agreed not to distribute the mifepristone pill in all 20 states, including Texas and Georgia, and not to ship them to the region by mail.
But the decision caused a major backlash across the United States.
California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said he would refuse to do business with Walgreens or “any company that panders to extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”
Abortion continues to be a controversial topic in the United States and has gained increasing attention since the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v Wade decision last year, which made abortion a human right. constitution across the country.
There are currently 12 states where there is a near total ban on abortion, with very limited exceptions.
In response to the backlash, Walgreens said it would sell the drug as permitted by federal and state laws once it is certified by relevant regulators.
“We want to be very clear about what our position has always been: Walgreens plans to distribute mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permitted to do so,” Walgreens said in its statement.
However, some have taken to social media to point out that the company has already agreed to stop selling the pill where abortion is currently legal but officials have threatened legal action.
These states include Iowa, Alaska, Kansas, and Montana. Shares of Walgreens fell 3.5% during trading in New York yesterday.
The company made headlines on this side of the Atlantic last year after backtracking on the sale of the Boots business.
In June, the US drugstore giant scrapped plans to sell the British high street stalwart, saying buyers were unable to raise enough cash due to continued instability in wider markets. .
Walgreens hoped to sell Boots for over £5 billion.