Twenty Republican state attorneys general sent a letter to U.S-based pharmacy chains Walgreens and CVS on Wednesday, telling both companies their plans to distribute abortion pills through the mail are “both unsafe and illegal.”
In the letter, the coalition wrote that federal law prohibits anyone from using the mail to send or receive any drug that will “be used or applied for producing abortion,” referring to the Comstock Act of 1873.
Last month, the Justice Department issued a legal opinion finding that mailing abortion drugs mifepristone and misoprostol does not violate the Comstock Act and said the U.S. Postal Service is legally allowed to deliver prescription abortion drugs even in states that have curtailed access to abortion.
“But the text, not the Biden administration’s view, is what governs. And the Biden administration’s opinion fails to stand up even to the slightest amount of scrutiny,” the attorneys general said in the letter.
“We reject the Biden administration’s bizarre interpretation, and we expect
courts will as well,” they added.
The coalition also wrote that using the mail to send or receive abortion drugs is unlawful in several states, including Missouri.
The letter was composed and signed by 20 Republican attorneys general, led by Andrew Bailey of Missouri and including Ken Paxton of Texas, Steve Marshall of Alabama, Dave Yost of Ohio, Patrick Morrisey of West Virginia and Daniel Cameron of Kentucky.
“We emphasize that it is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states,” the coalition wrote. “Part of that responsibility includes ensuring that companies like yours are fully informed of the law so that harm does not come to our citizens.”
The letter comes as both Walgreens and CVS plan to seek the certification required to dispense abortion bills in states where doing so is legal. The companies’ plans follow the Food and Drug Administration’s announcement of a policy last month that will allow retail pharmacies to dispense mifepristone from a certified prescriber if they meet certain criteria.