Walgreens and CVS Cornering the Market on Chemical Abortions

What Elizabeth Steele experienced with her chemical abortion was anything but safe. “Nobody warned me of the drugs’ side effects. Nobody mentioned that there was danger. They promised it was safe,” she said.

Elizabeth’s story is just one of the many reasons for concerns over the recent announcement by CVS and Walgreens that their pharmacies will sell abortion pills (also called chemical abortions, pill abortions or “medical” abortions). This new move means that many local chain pharmacies will soon be functioning as local abortion clinics.

Walgreens (or Duane Reade as it is known in the New York City market) has hundreds of locations in New York alone. The corporation recently announced that it would begin dispensing the abortion pill with a prescription at certain locations across five states, one being New York. CVS announced that it is still working towards making it available and will only begin in the New England states of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) reports that, “Chemical abortion has a complication rate four times that of surgical abortion, and as many as one in five women will suffer a complication.” Additionally CLI states, “Chemical abortion drugs are increasingly likely to send women to the ER. In one study, the rate of chemical abortion-related emergency room visits increased over 500% between 2002-2015.”

Why is this? Chemical abortions put women at risk when not coupled with an ultrasound. Many women do not know just how far along they are in their pregnancy. If they are further along than they think, chemical abortions increase their chances of complications. Also, the lack of an ultrasound puts women who have an ectopic pregnancy at more risk from a lack of early diagnosis.

CVS and Walgreens have made a bad move. It’s bad for women’s health and their babies’ lives. By definition, a “successful” chemical abortion takes the life of an unborn child. A failed abortion means a baby is born alive. Pharmacies are supposed to provide people with medicine that heals and helps, not take life. Women and their babies deserve better than these pharmacies are proposing.

For more information, see Abortion Drug Facts and this short explainer video by OB-GYN Dr. Ingrid Skop.

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