Attorney General Kris Kobach has urged another US pharmaceutical giant to follow Walgreens’ lead and not distribute abortion pills in Kansas.
In a letter to CVS on Tuesday, Kobach told the second-largest pharmacy in the United States that mail distribution of the abortion-inducing drug, mifepristone, is illegal.
There was no immediate response from CVS.
The announcement comes after the largest US pharmacy, Walgreens, agreed not to dispense the abortion-inducing drug Mifepristone in Kansas in a letter to Kobach.
“Walgreens does not currently distribute Mifepristone at any of its locations, says the letter from Danielle C. Gray, the company’s chief legal officer and executive vice president. “Walgreens does not intend to dispense Mifepristone in your state and does not intend to ship Mifepristone to your state from any of our pharmacies. If this approach changes, we will certainly notify you.
“As the head of law enforcement in Kansas, I am writing to warn you that this plan is illegal and Kansas will not hesitate to enforce the law,” Kobach wrote to Walgreens and CVS.
The move comes six months after voters affirmed abortion rights in August by rejecting the “Value Them Both” constitutional amendment that would have allowed state legislatures to ban abortions.
The legality of such sales is a controversial issue.
The Biden administration has allowed abortion-inducing drugs to be shipped as an emergency measure during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Justice Department has issued an opinion that may continue.
“It is illegal to knowingly ship any article or thing designed, adapted, or intended to produce abortion,” Kobach’s letter reads. “It is also illegal to ship any article, implement, substance, drug, medicine or thing that is advertised or described in a manner calculated to induce another to use or apply it to produce abortion.”
Kobach also cited a Kansas law requiring women to take abortion drugs in the same room with the prescriber. That law is currently blocked by a court order.
Kansans for Life, the state’s leading anti-abortion group, released a statement hailing Walgreens’ decision and Kobach’s requests.
“We are calling on other pharmacies to also commit to protecting the health and safety of women who would be endangered by a lack of monitoring of these deadly chemicals,” said Danielle Underwood, director of communications for the group.
Trust Women, which runs a clinic in Wichita and helped lead the fight against August’s amendment, said Kobach is overreacting.
“Mifepristone has been a safe and effective abortion method approved by the FDA for more than 20 years,” the group said in a statement. “The Attorney General is not a doctor, but he still feels qualified to intervene on issues that politicians in Kansan have continually insisted politicians leave to medical professionals – until last August, when voters rejected an anti- -abortion”.
The FDA released a statement outlining updates to current access to abortion drugs. The new ruling would allow more retail pharmacies to supply drugs used in therapeutic abortions.
Planned Parenthood launched abortion with telehealth drugs in December in an effort to expand access options in Kansas. The only state clinics that provide abortions are in Wichita and the Kansas City area.