Rep. Blumenthal and Sen. Flexer Announce Legislation to Ensure National and State Access to Reproductive HealthcareMarch 29, 2023
State Representative Matt Blumenthal and State Senator Mae Flexer, co-chairs of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, heard H.B. No. 6905: An Act Concerning State Contracting and the Dispensing Sale and Distribution of Certain Pharmaceuticals, on Monday to reiterate Connecticut’s commitment to ensuring reproductive healthcare is safe, legal, and accessible in our state.
Earlier this month, news reports emerged that Walgreens, the nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain, and AmerisourceBergen Corp., one of the largest pharmaceutical-distribution companies in the world, quietly responded to letters from rightwing extremist politicians by stating that they would not distribute medication-abortion pills in as many as 31 states—including states where abortion rights and care are currently legal or even expressly protected by law. The specific medication, mifepristone, is legal in every state and prescribed for uses independent of abortion.
These corporations’ craven capitulation betrays their duty to the patients they serve in those states. But their cowardice also jeopardizes patients and care here in Connecticut. If these corporations will so easily knuckle under to extremist politicians’ demands by declining to dispense these medications in those 31 states, what will they do when those same politicians demand they not dispense them to patients in Connecticut?
Our state must ensure the companies it relies on for care don’t fecklessly put profits over their patients. The Government Administration and Elections Committee is pursuing legislation to do just that. H.B. 6905 bans any state contract with or payment to any business that has any policy of declining to dispense any reproductive healthcare medication where doing so is legally permitted. Every pharmacy business seeking any payment from the state would be required to complete an affirmation under penalty of false statement that it has no such policy, including a statement of jurisdictions where it believes it is illegal to dispense such medications. That affirmation and statement would be valid only after verification for legal accuracy by the Office of the Connecticut Attorney General.
“As reproductive healthcare has come under attack by extremist politicians across the country, Connecticut has led on defending it,” said Rep. Matt Blumenthal, House Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee and Co-Chair of the General Assembly’s Reproductive Rights Caucus. “Companies that sell and distribute medications have an obligation to stand up for their patients. If a company won’t lift a finger to protect patients’ access to the medication they need, our state shouldn’t be doing business with it. H.B. 6905 will ensure that our state, its employees, and their families can rely on their pharmacies for care—and trust those companies won’t put profit over their patients.”
"Walgreens said it was acting out of an abundance of caution after receiving legal threats from Republican attorney generals. Well maybe our bill will help Walgreens and every other major American pharmacy act out of an abundance of courage to do the right thing in the face of right-wing politics," Sen. Flexer, Senate Chair of the Government Administration and Elections Committee, said. "And if American pharmacies can’t find the strength or the courage to do the right thing, like continue to sell or plan to sell a legal drug in a state where it's legal until the day it's outlawed, then the State of Connecticut isn't going to waste its tax dollars by rewarding the private sector for its cowardice."
"It is unfortunate to see a company—in particular one that claims to champion health and well-being—play politics with women's lives," said Rep Gilchrest, co-chair of the Reproductive Rights Caucus. "I am proud to stand with my colleagues in support of legislation to ensure Connecticut remains at the forefront of protecting access to reproductive healthcare which includes abortion."
 Rachel M. Cohen, The sole US supplier of a major abortion pill said it would not distribute the drug in 31 states, Vox (Mar. 15, 2023), https://www.vox.com/policy/2023/3/15/23639267/walgreens-abortion-pill-m….
 U.S. Food & Drug Admin., Drug Approval Package: Mifeprex (Mifepristone) Tablet, Approval Date: 9/29/2000, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/nda/2000/20687_mifeprist….
 Margaret W. Beal & Kathy Simmonds, Clinical uses of mifepristone: an update for women’s health practitioners, 47 J. Midwifery & Womens Health (2002), pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12484667/.