Good News, Toto: Abortion Drugs Won’t Be in Kansas Anymore
In the United States under Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the abortion industry has relied on the fast-acting and easily concealable nature of chemical abortion drugs to circumvent pro-life laws in the states that protect unborn children and their mothers from abortion. After a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule change allowing retail pharmacies to sell the chemical abortion regimen with a prescription, the battle against chemical abortion drugs has only intensified — but, thankfully, pro-life state attorneys general are rising to the challenge.
A new letter from Walgreens Boot Alliance Executive Vice President Danielle Gray confirms that the pharmacy chain will refrain from selling the chemical abortion regimen in its Kansas locations. The letter comes in response to a message from Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach (R), who informed Walgreens that it would be in violation of both federal and state law if it were to mail chemical abortion drugs into the state or dispense the drugs to customers by mail.
“I recognize that an ends-justify-the-means administration in the White House and the U.S. Department of Justice has gone to great lengths to obscure the issue,” Attorney General Kobach wrote. “But the law is straightforward. …[I]t is illegal to knowingly mail any ‘article or thing designed, adapted, or intended for procuring abortion’; it is also illegal to mail any ‘article, instrument, substance, drug, medicine, or thing which is advertised or described in a manner calculated to lead another to use or apply it for producing abortion.’”
Kobach’s letter goes on to explain that dispensing abortion drugs by mail in Kansas also violates state law, which has an in-person requirement for chemical abortions that requires the prescribing physician or drug provider to be physically present while the patient self-administers the drugs.
Attorney General Kobach concluded his letter by saying, “President Biden is beholden to the country’s most extreme pro-abortion voices, who constantly advocate for expanding the abortion regime without any consideration of legality or even women’s safety. But nothing requires you to join him. The law says what it says. I encourage you to follow it.”
Earlier this month, 20 state attorneys general sent a letter to CVS and Walgreens warning the pharmacy giants of the potential legal repercussions of mailing abortion pills in their states. It should not be surprising that some attorneys general are willing to enforce federal law. The real question is why all attorneys general, including U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and AGs in the other 30 states, aren’t doing so.
“There are layers of relevant state laws that can be enforced just like Kansas AG Kobach outlined in his letter to Walgreens. A total of 20 states (including Kansas) have a law on the books that would limit or entirely restrict the ability of pharmacies to distribute chemical abortion pills,” Connor Semelsberger, FRC’s director of Federal Affairs, told me. “Thankfully, 12 of those states are enforcing laws protecting life from conception — but the remaining seven should take immediate action to let retail pharmacies know their abortion business is not welcome in their state.”
Pro-life Americans should take notice of the threats that selective enforcement poses to the future of human rights legislation as related to human dignity. State-level pro-life protections can only take our nation so far; matters of human rights, such as protecting the right to life of unborn children, warrant federal action as well. It is not enough to merely elect legislators who will craft pro-life legislation. In states that elect their attorneys general, choosing a pro-life AG is paramount; in states where AGs are governor-appointed, choosing a pro-life governor is doubly significant.
We live in an era of American political thought in which the phrase “threat to democracy” reigns supreme; there is no simpler or more popular idiom with which to accuse one’s political opponents. However, insurrections and social media censorship aside, there are some actions that, objectively, should not be controversial to characterize as threats to democracy.
The selective enforcement of federal law presents a genuine threat to the functioning of our democracy. This is a matter that should be of concern to every American, regardless of his or her views on abortion. As Attorney General Kobach so neatly explained: the law says what it says. State AGs ignoring federal laws that they personally dislike is unacceptably activist behavior.