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JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri (LifeSiteNews) – 20 Republican state attorneys general have warned CVS and Walgreens that the pharmaceutical companies could face legal repercussions for distributing abortion pills.  

Their letter was sent to Danielle Gray, executive vice president of Walgreens, on Wednesday by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey. A copy of the letter was also sent to Tom Moriarty, executive vice president and general counsel for CVS. Signatories included the attorneys general from Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Texas, and West Virginia.

Alluding to the Comstock Act of 1873, the attorneys general state that federal law forbids the distribution of abortion drugs via mail. In late December, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Legal Counsel released an opinion that abortion pills could be mail-delivered and received “where the sender lacks the intent that the recipient of the drugs will use them unlawfully.”  

Contesting the DOJ’s opinion, the attorneys general wrote that “the text, not the Biden administration’s view, is what governs. And the Biden administration’s opinion fails to stand up even to the slightest amount of scrutiny.” 

“We reject the Biden administration’s bizarre interpretation, and we expect courts will as well,” the letter continues. “Courts do not lightly ignore the plain text of statutes. And the Supreme Court has been openly aversive to other attempts by the Biden administration to press antitextual arguments.”  

The letter also tell CVS and Walgreens that “consequences for accepting the Biden administration’s reading could come far sooner” than the next presidential administration, and that both state attorneys general and private citizens could file lawsuits against them for violation of the Comstock Act. 

The attorneys general also remind CVS and Walgreens that the distribution of abortion pills would violate preexisting state laws. “These state laws reflect not only our commitment to protecting the lives and dignity of children, but also of women,” the letter reads before warning of the dangers that could result from the use of abortion pills as well as the possibility of coercion. The mailing and distribution of abortion pills is currently restricted in 19 states, ABC News reported. 

“We emphasize that it is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states,” the letter continues. “Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that companies like yours are fully informed of the law so that harm does not come to our citizens.” 

READ: Abortion pill tragically kills 19-year-old Canadian woman: report

Shortly after the DOJ released its opinion on the Comstock Act, the Food and Drug Administration updated its website to reflect new guidelines on abortion pill access, which now allows retail pharmacies to carry mifepristone, pending the completion of an agreement form. CVS and Walgreens announced that they would fill out the form days after the FDA released its new guidelines. 

Mifepristone, used alongside misoprostol, causes the deaths of unborn babies at early stages of development.  

Reacting to the letter, Walgreens said in a statement that it is not currently dispensing mifepristone, but that it is working to become eligible to distribute the drug. Walgreens spokesman Fraser Engerman also said that the company “fully understand[s] that we may not be able to dispense Mifepristone in all locations if we are certified under the program.” 

Currently, there are three lawsuits which contest state laws regulating the distribution of abortion drugs.  

Late last month, GenBioPro, a company that manufactures generic mifepristone, sued  the state of West Virginia, alleging that the state’s restrictions on abortion contravene the FDA’s rules on abortion pills and that it caused the company to lose revenue. 

READ: Pro-life lawmakers demand FDA, Justice Department rescind moves allowing abortion pills by mail

North Carolina physician Dr. Amy Bryant also filed a lawsuit in her state last month, arguing that the state’s requirement for a doctor to be in the room while mifepristone is being administered, as well as counselling before mifepristone is administered, contradicts the FDA’s approved labeling for the drug and interferes with her ability to treat patients. Meanwhile, a group of pro-life doctors in Texas filed a suit in November against the FDA seeking to overturn the agency’s approval of abortion pills. 

The states of Florida and South Dakota have both clarified that the FDA’s rule change does not change state laws forbidding pharmacies in those states from distributing abortion medication, and 22 states attorneys general wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf last month urging the agency to rescind its new rule. Similarly, pro-life members of Congress signed letters addressed to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and Califf last month condemning both the DOJ’s opinion and the FDA’s rule change, demanding both be rescinded. 

CVS has yet to respond to LifeSiteNews’s request for comment.