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Connecticut Democrats advance a bill to protect access to abortion medication

Plan C shows a combination pack of mifepristone and misoprostol tablets, two medicines used together, also called the abortion pill.
PLAN C/AFP via Getty Images
Plan C shows a combination pack of mifepristone and misoprostol tablets, two medicines used together, also called the abortion pill.

A Connecticut legislative committee has approved a bill that would ban pharmaceutical companies from doing business with the state if they stop selling legal abortion pills in other states.

The bill, sponsored by Democrats, is in response to a decision by Walgreens, the nation’s second largest pharmacy chain.

Earlier this month, Walgreens had announced that it would reconsider dispensing the abortion pill Mifepristone in certain states where Republican attorneys general have threatened legal action against pharmacies that dispense the medication.

A Walgreen's spokesperson told WSHU on Thursday, "We want to be very clear about what our position has always been: Walgreens plans to dispense Mifepristone in any jurisdiction where it is legally permissible to do so. Once we are certified by the FDA, we will dispense this medication consistent with federal and state laws. Providing legally approved medications to patients is what pharmacies do, and is rooted in our commitment to the communities in which we operate.”

Walgreens is seeking certification from the FDA to dispense Mifepristone, according to the spokesperson.

“The idea that pharmaceutical companies would suddenly stop distributing these vital lifesaving medicines because some politicians wrote a letter is just stunning,” said Senator Mae Flexer of Windham, the Senate co-chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, which voted overwhelmingly to approve the bill.

“Our state must ensure that the companies that it relies on for care don’t put profits over patients and will stand up for them,” said state Representative Matt Blumenthal of Stamford, the House co-chair of the committee.

The bill would prohibit the state of Connecticut from contracting with any pharmacy that has a policy in another state of declining to dispense legal pharmaceuticals related to reproductive healthcare.

It now heads to the House and Senate for action.

This story has been updated with a comment from a Walgreen's spokesperson.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.
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