Attorney General Bonta Co-Leads Multistate Coalition in Support of Medication Abortion at CVS, Walgreens Stores

Thursday, February 16, 2023
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND — California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson today led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in welcoming a decision by CVS and Walgreens to start offering mifepristone and misoprostol, often referred to as medication abortion, in their stores. The decision, announced by the two companies last month, will enable their pharmacies to dispense and mail the pills to customers after receiving certification from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Mifepristone and misoprostol are used widely not just for abortions, but also to treat other health issues such as miscarriages and even gastric ulcers. They have been approved for use by the FDA for over 20 years. In a letter to CVS and Walgreens, the attorneys general wrote that making the medications available at their pharmacies would enable millions of individuals to more easily access critical, and sometimes lifesaving, reproductive care. 

“To millions of Americans, mifepristone and misoprostol aren’t just a prescription medication, they are a protection, a lifeline, a key to a healthier and better future,” said Attorney General Bonta. “To the leaders at CVS and Walgreen: We welcome your decision to offer these essential medications at your pharmacies. Do not be deterred by anti-abortion states trying to curtail reproductive freedoms — their legal assertions are meritless and their rhetoric is empty. Restricting access to medication abortion does not make people safer: it only forces them to turn to desperate and unsafe measures. It takes away choice and freedom, and endangers people’s lives. California stands proudly with our partners today in full support of protecting and expanding access to reproductive care across the nation.” 

After CVS and Walgreens announced their decision to offer mifepristone and misoprostol last month, a group of anti-abortion states wrote a letter to the companies, warning them of legal repercussions if the pharmacies attempt to dispense the medications by mail.  

In today’s letter, the 23 attorneys general assured CVS and Walgreens that the companies’ decision to dispense mifepristone and misoprostol is on solid legal footing and supported by over a hundred years of legal precedent. The legal theory cited by the anti-abortion states in their letter has been repeatedly and consistently rejected by federal courts and Congress since the 20th century. 

Specifically, the letter highlights:  

  • Mifepristone and misoprostol are safe, effective, and reliable medications. The anti-abortion states’ claim that “abortion pills are far riskier than surgical abortion” has been proven utterly false over and over again in numerous scientific studies.  
  • Restricting access to medication abortion jeopardizes patients’ health, safety, and well-being, often forcing them to delay their care or seek abortions through unsafe means. By contrast, ensuring access to medication abortion as early as possible lowers the risk of complications. 
  • Having the option to use medication abortion empowers people to make the personal and confidential choice of which method of abortion is better for them based on factors including cost, accessibility, medical history, age, and a desire to avoid surgery. Many pregnant women choose medical over surgical abortion because it can offer a more private and flexible option. 
  • Increased access to reproductive care is especially important for communities underserved by the healthcare system, including people of color, low-income people, people with disabilities, LGBTQ individuals, and people living in rural areas, who face the greatest barriers to getting the care they need in a timely and safe manner. 

In filing today’s letter to CVS and Walgreens, Attorneys General Bonta, Rosenblum, and Ferguson were joined by the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. 

A copy of the letter is available here

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