“Abortion is very harmful for a community overall, so bringing it into all communities like that, I think, is very detrimental,” she said.
Students for Life is organizing letter-writing campaigns and an effort to send Valentine’s Day cards to CEOs to ask them to “urge them to stop making our pharmacies abortion facilities and distributing deadly chemical abortion pills,” its website said.
40 Days for Life, a longtime organizer of peaceful prayer and pro-life outreach campaigns at abortion clinics, will encourage protests at pharmacies during its upcoming Feb. 22-April 2 campaign.
“CVS and Walgreens have replaced Planned Parenthood as the most significant abortion chains in the Western Hemisphere,” Shawn Carney, president and CEO of 40 Days for Life, told CNA Jan. 24. “With 18,000 locations between the two, and now Rite Aid joining in, we have given the hundreds of 40 Days for Life campaign leaders not currently leading a campaign the opportunity to do so outside a pharmacy.”
Last week on its website, 40 Days for Life said the CVS and Walgreens decisions are “turning their stores into abortion facilities.” The organization invited people who don’t have an abortion facility nearby to apply on its website to lead a protest in front of pharmacies that have said they will dispense abortion pills.
Leading these campaigns can “save lives through your witness and abortion pill reversal,” empower pro-life pharmacists, educate the community about the dangers of chemical abortion to women and babies, and “send a message to pharmacy executives that dealing in death is not a good business decision.”
“A dedicated abortion facility is still our first priority, but we have lost campaigns for the best reason — their abortion facility has gone out of business,” Carney told CNA. “Those locations — and many more in rural America — will now be focusing on abortion dispensing pharmacies. The complications of these dangerous abortion drugs (which often result in ER visits or follow-up appointments) and the employee conscience rights issues hitting CVS and Walgreens right now will be a legal headache for pharmacies.”
Until this month, FDA policy only allowed certified doctors, clinics, and some mail-order pharmacies to dispense mifepristone.
Critics of the drug include the Charlotte Lozier Institute, a pro-life think tank. Its July 2022 fact sheet on risks and complications of chemical abortion said that abortion pills are four times riskier than surgical abortions. The need for follow-up care can range from 3% to 10% of women when the drug is taken early in pregnancy and up to 39% of women if accidentally taken late in pregnancy, when surgery could be required.
Women could be put at risk by a lack of ultrasound tests to confirm the age and the position of the unborn child, especially if there is an ectopic pregnancy. A lack of blood test requirements could affect Rh-negative women, who need special treatment to avoid serious risks to future pregnancies.
Wharton said that easier access to the pills can make it easier for abusive men to conceal pregnancy and abuse.
(Story continues below)
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“It’s going to make it easier for abusers in the community to buy these pills,” she objected. “It’s going to make it easier for a woman in a situation where she’s vulnerable to get an abortion, and she has nobody counseling her.”
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.