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CVS and Walgreens begin selling abortion pills

Flickr4Jazz | Wikimedia Commons

CVS Inc. and Walgreens, two of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States, recently made headlines by announcing their decision to sell abortion pills in-store. This marks a significant shift in the accessibility of reproductive health care services, but also raises questions of its legality and effects throughout the retail industry.

The decision by CVS and Walgreens to offer abortion pills, specifically mifepristone, is an effort to expand access to reproductive health care as more women start relying on these pills which are used to terminate pregnancies in the early stages.

“Women are increasingly turning to the abortion pill, rather than surgery, to end unwanted pregnancies,” according to CBS News. “In 2020, medication abortions accounted for more than half of all abortions in the U.S.”

By making abortion pills available in-store, these pharmacies are aiming to provide women with more convenient and discreet access to these essential medications.

However, the legality of selling abortion pills in pharmacies varies across the United States. While some states have laws explicitly permitting the sale of these medications in pharmacies, others have restrictions or requirements that may limit access.

For now, these abortion pills will be available in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois with a required prescription.

While this is great for the states listed above, conservative-leaning states may enact laws or regulations aimed at restricting access to abortion services, which could potentially impact the ability of pharmacies to offer these medications. As of yet, the dispensing of these medications has to be consistent with state-laws and is to be determined in other states.

As for whether other stores will follow suit, the decision by CVS and Walgreens could pave the way for other retailers to consider expanding their reproductive health care offerings. The move reflects a growing recognition within the retail industry of the importance of addressing the health care needs of all of their customers, including access to reproductive services.

“With major retail pharmacy chains newly certified to dispense medication abortion, many women will soon have the option to pick up their prescription at a local, certified pharmacy—just as they would for any other medication,” President Joe Biden stated in a press release. “I encourage all pharmacies that want to pursue this option to seek certification.”

To sell these pills, pharmacies must go through a certification process which includes requirements and forms in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration rule that made this possible.

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Melani Bonilla
Melani Bonilla, Multimedia Editor
Melani Bonilla is the Multimedia Editor for The Ticker.
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