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California flexed its muscle on abortion rights. Will more states and businesses follow?

Joe Garofoli | The San Francisco Chronicle | March 9, 2023

California just opened up a new front in the abortion wars, post-Roe v. Wade: the business community. 

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s termination of a $54 million state contract with Walgreens after the pharmaceutical chain said it would stop selling the abortion drug mifepristone in some states put private businesses on notice: Support abortion rights or face the wrath of what’s poised to become the world’s fourth-largest economy.

“The state of California won’t be shopping at Walgreens,” as Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis put it Thursday at a San Francisco fundraiser that raised $1.4 million for the national abortion rights organization NARAL Pro Choice America.

Seeing California “be willing to put their money where their values are is huge,”  NARAL Pro Choice America President Mini Timmaraju told me. 

NARAL, however, has not called for an all-out boycott against Walgreens as some other left-leaning organizations have, including Courage California and East Area Democrats, a Los Angeles-based grassroots club. Timmaraju said that abortion rights advocacy organizations need to maintain a relationship with pharmaceutical companies, even if “it may not be a positive relationship. It might be a contentious relationship.”