© 2024 | Jefferson Public Radio
Southern Oregon University
1250 Siskiyou Blvd.
Ashland, OR 97520
541.552.6301 | 800.782.6191
Listen | Discover | Engage a service of Southern Oregon University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newsom shuns Walgreens over abortion

A Walgreens in Oakland on Mar. 6, 2023.
Martin do Nascimento
A Walgreens in Oakland on Mar. 6, 2023.

Since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, Gov. Gavin Newsom has sought to make California a sanctuary state for those seeking abortions. He just threw yet another pebble in that pond – but it’s unclear how long and far it’ll ripple.

Newsom tweeted yesterday that California won’t be doing business with Walgreens, “or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”

The governor’s move followed the drug store chain’s announcement last week that it will not distribute the medication mifepristone, used for abortions and miscarriages, in the 20 states where abortion is banned or severely limited. Walgreens’ move followed a February 1 letter from GOP attorneys general warning retail pharmacies of legal consequences if they sold the pills.

But Newsom’s tweet took health plans across the state by surprise and raised questions about the consequences, reports CalMatters’ Kristen Hwang and Ana B. Ibarra.

The governor’s office said it was “reviewing all relationships” between Walgreens and the state, but did not provide further specifics.

Brandon Richards, a spokesperson for the governor’s office, said Monday: “We will not pursue business with companies that cave to right wing bullies pushing their extremist agenda or companies that put politics above the health of women and girls.”

Following the governor’s tweet, Walgreens’ stock price dropped nearly 2%.

The company operates close to 600 stores in California, about 10% of the state’s pharmacy market, and is a key prescription provider for Medi-Cal insurers.

A Walgreens spokesperson said: “From the outset, we have made our intentions clear to become a certified pharmacy to distribute Mifepristone wherever legally possible to do so.”

Newsom’s move also raised questions about whether Walgreens would be excluded from distributing the state’s generic insulin. And Blue Shield of California has a partnership with the company to make its pharmaceutical and preventive health care benefits more accessible.

CalMatters is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics. 

Sameea Kamal is a reporter at CalMatters covering the state Capitol and California politics. She joined CalMatters in June 2021 from the Los Angeles Times, where she was a News Desk editor. Sameea was one of three 2020 IRE Journalist of Color fellows, and previously worked for the Center for Public Integrity. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia Journalism School.