How Silence Could Save Walmart from Abortion Controversy
Following the Food and Drug Administration’s recent move to permit retail pharmacies to dispense dangerous chemical abortion drugs with a prescription, the nation’s largest pharmacy businesses tripped over one another to apply for certification. CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have all formally applied to the FDA seeking to sell the mifepristone and misoprostol drug cocktail that starves children to death in the womb and then violently expels them — often into a toilet where they are flushed into the sewer. As of now, however, some national businesses have stayed quiet about whether they will seek to turn their pharmacies into abortion facilities.
Notably, Walmart, whose pharmacy business ranks only fifth in national prescription-dispensing revenue as of 2021, has not yet succumbed to pressure from abortion mongers. As of now, Americans who desire to distance their pharmacy purchasing from the abortion industry can rest assured that Walmart remains a neutral zone. Family Research Council, along with a coalition of 13 other prominent pro-life organizations, recently sent a letter to Walmart Inc. encouraging it to stay the course of avoiding abortion controversy.
And after all — why wouldn’t it? Walmart’s pharmaceutical department is hardly an essential contributor of revenue. In 2015, Reuters highlighted a statement from Walmart about how “lower margins in its pharmacy business had emerged as a drag on profits, as it gets paid less by drug plan managers and as fewer customers pay in cash, since Obamacare has increased the ranks of insured Americans.” In 2021, Walmart’s prescription revenue brought in 22.7 billion; the corporation’s total revenue for the year was $559.151 billion, making prescriptions only 4% of Walmart’s annual revenue.
Mary Szoch, director of FRC’s Center for Human Dignity, told me, “CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid have all opted to turn their pharmacies into abortion facilities. All Walmart has to do to become the go-to pharmacy for Americans who don’t want to fill their prescriptions at an abortion facility is continue operating as they have for years — as a pharmacy. What’s more, if Walmart opts to turn their pharmacies into abortion facilities, those who oppose abortion will find other stores where they can purchase their toilet paper, clothes, TVs, and bananas.”
Why would Walmart jeopardize the security of its business as a whole to wade into abortion controversy that more popular retail pharmacies already have, much to the ire of Americans on the right (and even some on the left)? Pro-life activists with Live Action recently protested a Walgreens shareholder meeting in California; activist groups Students for Life and 40 Days for Life are likewise planning protests and prayer vigils outside of Walgreens and CVS locations throughout the coming months. A coalition of pro-life organizations is planning further protests and activism with a #StopAbortionRx campaign.
“Walmart is smart in keeping its family-friendly reputation intact by not getting in the grotesque business of ending families with chemical abortion pills,” Kristi Hamrick, vice president of Media and Policy at Students for Life Action, shared with me. “Those companies that contort their pharmacy businesses by adding abortion will experience intense push back from customers and will see activism in front of their stores, as the first post-Roe generation makes it loud and clear that getting into the business of death by abortion will cost them customers as well as respect.”
Likewise, Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, told me, “Until this point in history, 40 Days for Life has kept our campaigns strictly outside abortion facilities. Now, in a post-Roe America, your local CVS or Walgreens are also abortion facilities. CVS and Walgreens are offering abortion pills through their drive-through window, making it just as easy to get an abortion as it is to order a Big Mac from McDonald’s. Therefore, 40 Days for Life is taking the fight to their front doors. We will not stop or be silenced until CVS and Walgreens stop allowing murder to take place inside their pharmacies.”
In the abortion war, Walmart has the opportunity to maintain neutrality and avoid the critiques of either side. However, if Walmart seeks to dispense chemical abortion drugs, it will needlessly embroil its stores in a sea of pro-life protestors alongside all the other (more profitable) retail pharmacies. The only thing Walmart has to do to stay palatable to every American is stay silent.
Joy Stockbauer is a correspondent for The Washington Stand.