An embarrassment for California Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democrat leader recently was forced to backtrack his threat to revoke a contract with Walgreens because the pharmacy chain refused to sell abortion drugs in pro-life states.
If Newsom had followed through, the health care needs of 15 million low-income Californians could have been affected, according to Live Action News. His action also may have violated federal law.
Last month, in his pro-abortion zeal, Newsom announced plans to punish Walgreens after the company said it would not violate state pro-life laws.
The pharmacy chain soon plans to begin selling abortion drugs in more than half the country after the Biden administration got rid of safety regulations for the drug. However, Walgreens also said it will abide by the laws in states that ban or restrict abortions, and that made Newsom angry.
“California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done,” the governor wrote on Twitter at the time.
He said the state would not renew a $54 million contract with Walgreens as a result.
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While claiming “moral” superiority, Newsom bragged about how big the California economy is, suggesting Walgreens had better cave to his pro-abortion demands and risk lawsuits in pro-life states or the company will suffer. At the same time, he claimed pro-life advocates were the ones bullying the company.
This week, however, spokespeople for Newsom’s administration backtracked on his plans, citing federal law.
“California has no intention of taking any action that would violate federal Medicaid requirements, or that could undermine access for low-income individuals,” said Tony Cava of the state Department of Health Care Services in a statement.
Live Action News reports more:
According to the Los Angeles Times, the state is bound by federal law to continue doing business with Walgreens through the Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, which serves roughly 15 million residents. Federal law requires that Medicaid recipients be able to receive their prescriptions at any approved pharmacy. Records show that last year, the state paid Walgreens $1.5 billion dollars.
Following his announcement, Newsom had ordered the state not to renew a $54 million contract with Walgreens over the dispensation of medication within the prison system. With the reversal of his decision, Walgreens has once more been invited to apply for that contract.
Anthony York, a spokesman for the governor, tried to downplay Newsom’s plans, saying, “Tweeting is not policy,” according to the report.
But Newsom did not just write the threat on Twitter. He made an official announcement about it and gave interviews to national news outlets bragging about the “morality” of his plans to punish Walgreens for not being pro-abortion enough.
“So, we have, we believe, moral authority, but we also have formal authority and will exercise it in partnership with the Legislature, and in the absence of that, through executive action,” he told Politico in March.
Responding to Newsom in March, a Walgreens spokesperson told Fox News that the governor’s claims are “false and misleading,” and the company plans to sell abortion drugs in states where it is legal to do so.
“We are deeply disappointed by the decision by the state of California not to renew our longstanding contract due to false and misleading information,” the spokesperson told Fox News Digital. “Walgreens is facing the same circumstances as all retail pharmacies, and no other retail pharmacies have said that they would approach this situation differently, so it’s unclear where this contract would now be moved.”
Their decisions came after the Biden administration dropped safety regulations for the dangerous abortion drug mifepristone, which has been linked to the deaths of millions of babies and dozens of women. Previously, mifepristone only could be dispensed by FDA-approved abortion facilities, medical offices and hospitals under the direct supervision of a licensed physician.
In response, pro-life advocates launched boycotts and 20 Republican state attorneys general sent letters to the pharmacies warning them not to sell abortion drugs in their states. The state leaders said the Biden administration’s changes are dangerous and illegal, and they will take legal action if pharmacies violate state or federal laws.
The attorneys general pointed the companies to a federal law that bans mailing abortion drugs, as well as their individual state laws that prohibit or restrict abortion drugs. They also expressed concerns about the well-being of women and children in their states, noting the risk of injury and death as well as coerced and forced abortions.
“Abortion pills impose far higher risks of complications compared to surgical abortions. In addition, abortion pills, especially when distributed by mail, make coerced abortions much easier,” they said.
Walgreens responded to the letter by confirming that it does not plan to sell abortion drugs in their states.
The drug mifepristone, typically used with a second drug, misoprostol, now is used for more than half of all abortions in the U.S. every year, or nearly half a million unborn babies, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
The FDA has linked mifepristone to at least 28 women’s deaths and 4,000 serious complications between 2000 and 2018. However, under President Barack Obama, the FDA stopped requiring that non-fatal complications from mifepristone be reported. So the numbers almost certainly are much higher.
Studies indicate the risks are more common than what abortion activists often claim, with as many as one in 17 women requiring hospital treatment.