Illinois, other states want clarification on pharmacies’ medication abortion access

Photo by Robin Marty. Used under Creative Commons

On Tuesday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker joined 14 other governors calling on major pharmacies to clarify how they plan to safeguard protect access to medication like Mifepristone.

The governors are part of the Reproductive Freedom Alliance (RFA), a non-partisan group of governors focused on working to reproductive rights. Illinois joined the RFA in February.

Walgreens, the largest pharmacy chain in the country, has announced that it would not distribute medication for abortions in some states where it is still legal but under threat. The RFA has sent a letter to the other national pharmacy chains for their plans on access. The letter went to executives at CVS, Walmart, Rite-Aid, Safeway, Health Mart, Kroger, Costco, and Target

“I’ve spoken with Walgreens executives and expressed my deep disappointment at their announced policy, and I’ve urged them to rethink this decision that will severely limit access to essential healthcare for thousands of women,” said Pritzker in a press release. “I’m calling on all major pharmacies to resist the political grandstanding of certain state Attorneys General and preserve this right wherever reproductive choice is still allowed—which will always be the case in Illinois while I am Governor.”

Other members of the RFA are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Mifepristone has been approved by the FDA since 2000 and was made available by mail order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The emergency rule change was made permanent in December 2021.