Editor’s Note: This article was updated on January 18, 2023, to include a response from the FDA.
SILVER SPRING, Maryland (LifeSiteNews) — Attorneys General from 22 states sent a letter late last week to Federal Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf demanding an end to the agency’s new abortion pill rules allowing women to obtain abortion pills over the counter.
The letter, whose signers include the Attorneys General of Alabama, Florida, Texas, and Wyoming, was sent to Califf last Friday.
“The Food and Drug Administration’s decision to abandon commonsense restrictions on remotely prescribing and administering abortion-inducing drugs is both illegal and dangerous,” the letter states. “In direct contravention of longstanding FDA practice and congressional mandate, the FDA’s rollback of important safety restrictions ignores both women’s health and straightforward federal statutes. We urge you to reverse your decision.”
Early this month, the FDA updated its website to reflect new guidelines on abortion pill access; they now allow retail pharmacies to carry mifepristone which, used alongside misoprostol, causes the deaths of unborn babies at early stages of development. Pharmacies can become certified to distribute the drug by completing an agreement form, as previously reported by LifeSiteNews.
READ: New FDA regulations allow retail pharmacies like Walgreens to distribute abortion pills
The letter notes that when the FDA first approved mifepristone in 2000, “the agency recognized that the drug carried serious risks for women, including infection and bleeding.” In 2007, the agency introduced new rules as part of a Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy (REMS) in order to minimize risks linked with the drug.
The letter further states that the REMS holds that “mifepristone could only be prescribed by a qualified physician and administered in a hospital, clinic, or medical office, and only by or under the supervision of such a physician.”
“Until recently, the FDA adhered to the judgment that these requirements—which prohibited remotely prescribing mifepristone—are necessary to mitigate the serious health risks to women who take the drug,” the letter reads.
“Most importantly, the FDA has ignored its responsibility to protect health and safety by prioritizing a reckless pro-abortion policy over women’s health. Though there are risks to a woman of using these drugs at any point in pregnancy, abortion-inducing drug are riskiest when used later in pregnancy,” the letter continues.
“This means that accurately determining the date of pregnancy is critical for women’s safety. And that determination will be accurate only if made in-person via ultrasound … Of course, your policy enthusiastically endangers the lives of unborn children who may be even older and more developed than could be known without an in-person examination.”
READ: CVS, Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pill after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
UPDATE (03/07/23): Walgreens won't dispense abortion pills in 20 states
The pressure is paying off. Walgreens' plan to dispense abortion pills nationwide is now in tatters, with the pharmaceutical giant announcing that it won't mail the pills to, or sell them within, 20 states.
The news comes after 20 Republican attorneys general warned CVS and Walgreens that doing so would be in violation of federal law and that they were opening themselves to penalties.
But we can't rest on our laurels with this boycott: Walgreens and CVS will only listen to us when their profits are threatened — we need a HUGE boycott so that blood money they get from selling abortion pills is dwarfed by the profits they lose when pro-life America shops elsewhere.
Even Politico admitted in its reporting that "pressure" from pro-life voters like you helped change Walgreens' plans, so now we're asking you to take the next step: simply share this petition with your friends and ask them to join the boycott.
Walgreens and CVS will begin selling mifepristone — a powerful chemical that kills unborn children in the womb — if pro-life America does not ACT NOW.
Pro-life Americans MUST STOP the widespread sale and distribution of mifepristone by sending a message that only big-box stores will understand: A NATIONAL BOYCOTT OF WALGREENS AND CVS.
Walgreens and CVS are the newest back-door channels for the pro-abortion movement, now that the Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade.
Will you act now to STOP abortion drugs from reaching your pharmacy?
Our work in the pro-life movement is FAR from over, especially now that Walgreens and CVS have chosen to push deadly drugs in their stores and in our communities!
SIGN and SEND a message to Walgreens and CVS! This is completely unacceptable!
We must stop abortion from reaching our pharmacies and stop the abortion industry from poisoning our communities — before it’s too late.
These big-box stores respond only to profit. The pro-life movement must enact a national boycott if the abortion industry dares flood our neighborhoods!
SIGN and SEND a strong message to Walgreens and CVS: unless they immediately reverse course, the entire pro-life movement will BOYCOTT their stores!
SIGN NOW and send a clear message!
CVS & Walgreens announce plans to dispense abortion pills after Biden FDA loosens restrictions
The letter also referenced a Department of Justice (DOJ) legal counsel released by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel earlier this month, which allowed the U.S. Postal Service to deliver abortifacient drugs by mail.
“To be sure, the Biden Justice Department recently tried to invent an exception to the law, opining that the law ‘is narrower than a literal reading might suggest.’,” the letter states. “But the statute couldn’t be plainer, and it is no suggestion: a violation is a felony that carries five years’ imprisonment. And yet, you now encourage physicians to facilitate remote abortions and pharmacies to order and provide abortion drugs.”
“The Biden DOJ’s conclusion is implausible on its face, and a closer look makes the conclusion even more farcical,” the letter continues. “It relies on a series of lower-court decisions from about 100 years ago, all of which concerned contraceptives, not abortion.”
The Attorneys General further stipulate that the FDA’s rule change does not negate preexisting state laws regulating the use of abortion drugs, writing “Though the FDA has abdicated its responsibility to protect women’s health, we have not. To be crystal clear, you have not negated any of our laws that forbid the remote prescription, administration, and use of abortion-inducing drugs. The health and safety of our citizens—women and children included—is of paramount concern. Nothing in the FDA’s recent changes affects how we will protect our people.”
READ: DeSantis admin warns pharmacies not to sell abortion pills following FDA rule change
18 states have laws that limit the administration of abortion drugs such that the drugs must be taken in the presence of a doctor.
Shortly after the FDA released its new guidelines, both CVS and Walgreens, the largest retail pharmacies in the United States, announced that they would fill out the agreement forms in the hopes that they could soon dispense mifepristone.
The following week, Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) notified pharmacies in the state that Floridian law forbids over the counter sale of abortifacient drugs, and that the first dose of such a drug can only be taken in the presence of the prescribing doctor and at a licensed health care facility. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, answering a press question at a news conference the following day, said that both Walgreens and CVS would not be able to sell abortion drugs in Florida.
In an email response to LifeSiteNews, the FDA acknowledged receipt of the letter and stated the organization would “respond directly to the state attorneys general.”