Governor Newsom Cuts Ties with Walgreens, the Nation’s Second Largest Pharmacy

A Walgreens store in San Francisco on March 7. (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

By Katya Tankimovich

LOS ANGELES — In an effort to curb the Republican party’s restrictive abortion plan for the nation, Governor Gavin Newsom has decided not to renew California’s 54 million dollar contract with Walgreens. 


Walgreens, the country’s second-largest pharmacy, confirmed this past week that they would stop selling abortion pills and medications in 21 states even if abortion is currently legal there. Governor Newsom tweeted on Monday that “California won’t be doing business with Walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done.”


Governor Newsom’s public stance is the latest in the war between blue and red states over abortion access. On Wednesday, Governor Newsom argued that “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.” According to a statement from Newsom’s office, “The California Department of General Services will explore other options for furnishing the same services.”


Governor Newsom has repeatedly vowed to make California a sanctuary for the pro-choice audience of the nation. California, in the wake of some states completely outlawing all abortion services, has become the top destination for outside residents looking for medical abortion assistance. 


Much of this comes in the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade in June of last year. On June 24, 2022 in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overturned 50 years of abortion rights and allowed numerous republican controlled states to reduce abortion access.


The case involved a challenge to the Mississippi ban on abortion services after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Roe v. Wade, a landmark piece of legislation, made access to abortion a federal right in the United States. In months following the historic decision, 18 states severely restricted abortion access. In states as right-leaning as Alabama and Arkansas, abortion is outright banned. 


Walgreens has seemingly bowed to pressure stemming from various states and anti-abortion activists. Across the United States, almost 20 Republican attorneys general wrote to Walgreens and threatened legal action against the company for their part in distributing abortion pills. Such abortion pills, which typically end a pregnancy within the first 10 weeks of gestation, have quickly become the nation’s most popular method for getting an abortion. 


Walgreens has responded to Newsom’s public announcement and stated that “we are deeply disappointed by the decision by the state of California not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information.” 


The statement continued and argued that Walgreens is handling the situation the same as all other retail pharmacies. The statement later clarified that once they are certified by the FDA, “Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so, including the state of California.”


In California, Governor Newsom continues to advocate for abortion rights. Abortion, much like any other medical procedure, is an essential fixture of women’s health care. The decision to have an abortion should be solely decided by the patient after receiving a medical consultation with a doctor. 


To ensure abortion access, California has signed almost a dozen laws in 2022. Some work to protect out-of-state residents seeking an abortion by prohibiting law-enforcement officers from aiding in out-of-state abortion investigations. Others work to shield any medical personnel who choose to provide such medical services. 


Last summer, Governor Newsom signed into law AB 1666. This law seeks to protect medical personnel who choose to provide abortion services and covers residents trying to get out-of-state abortions. 


Additionally, Newsom’s office hopes to amend the state’s legislation with bill SCA-10. This bill enshrines the right to reproductive freedom within California’s state constitution. Like any other patient, all women deserve the right to privacy, sufficient medical care, respect, and compassion.

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1 Comment

  1. Walter Shwe

    Amen to Governor Newsom and the State Legislature for fighting back against efforts to deny womens’ rights to self determination and choice.

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