‘We’re done’: The governor of California says the state won’t do business with Walgreens after it stopped selling abortion pills in 20 states

March 6, 2023, 8:52 PM UTC
California Gov. Gavin Newsom looks on during a press conference on February 01, 2023 in Sacramento, California.
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The Democratic governor directed the California Department of Health and Human Services to review all relationships Walgreens has with the state, including MediCal and Covered California, the state’s two largest public insurance plans, according to Newsom’s spokesperson. The amount of business California’s state-funded insurance plans does with Walgreens isn’t available, he said.

Last week, Walgreens said it won’t sell the abortion pill mifepristone in 20 states following warnings by Republican attorneys general of legal action against the company as well as CVS Health Corp. The two retailers could face legal consequences if they mail and distribute abortion medication in those states.  

While Walgreens said it will stop selling abortion pills in those states, CVS so far hasn’t commented publicly.

Newsom said in a tweet Monday that the state would not work with “any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk.”

Shares of Walgreens dropped 1.8% to $35.45 on Monday in New York.

A spokesperson with Walgreens declined to comment on Newsom’s tweet but said that the company “intends to dispense mifepristone wherever it is legally possible to do so.”

Newsom is attempting to put pressure on companies to ignore threats from Republicans in the battle over abortion access in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. 

He’s increasingly wading into controversial issues as part of a campaign that’s seen him burnishing his national profile ahead of the 2024 presidential campaign. 

Although Newsom has repeatedly denied presidential aspirations, many Democrats view the governor as a potential contender for the Democratic nomination, should President Joe Biden decide not to seek reelection.

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