California and Walgreens cut ties

Governor Newsom vows to end ties with the retail-drug store as they cease support of the abortion pill in 21 states.


Eaton Road Walgreens on a gloomy Chico Day. Photograph: Nicholas Stamper/CSU Chico

Days after Walgreens announced it would no longer provide abortion medication in 21 Republican voting states, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared that California will end all state contracts with Walgreens. For Chico State students, this could mean less access to medicine and healthcare essentials.

In light of Walgreens ending distribution of the abortion pill, Newsom announced that California would not be renewing their $54 million deal with the chain.  Ending this deal cuts off California’s financial support of Walgreens, however, this does not ban it from California.

“California will not stand by as corporations cave to extremists and cut off critical access to reproductive care and freedom,” said Governor Newsom. “California is on track to be the fourth largest economy in the world, and we will leverage our market power to defend the right to choose.” 

Newsom also tweeted “California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk. We’re done.”

For many women on campus, specifically those living in dorms, Walgreens is one of the very few drug stores within walking distance. 

Chico State senior, Kayli Worden, explained her initial surprise of Newsom’s decision. 

In terms of her support of the decision, Worden said, “As a woman I feel seen and supported by our governor, and it’s sad and concerning that there’s probably an abundance of Californians that disagree with this movement; however, I feel fortunate to live in a state that views women’s rights as human health rights.”

Chico State senior, Kaitlyn Vannucci, also expressed her support of Newsom’s decision. 

“As a woman, especially in California, it shows that we have support from the government in ways that many citizens of the country do not, and I feel lucky for that.”

Regarding whether this affected whether or not she would patron Walgreens again, Vannucci added, “As for shopping at Walgreens, I don’t find myself going there too much.. However, now that I know many Walgreens across the country do not support women’s rights over their bodies, I think differently of it and personally I don’t really want to go there.”

The impact of this decision is a reflection of the ongoing tension felt by both political sides of the country. Vannucci explained: “It’s hard when so many people are divided on abortion rights and it has come to the point of accessible drug stores not selling things that women need. I think Newsom cutting ties is a step in the right direction on taking a stand against those who are not in favor of women’s rights over their bodies.” 

A lot is left unclear in terms of what this decision truly means for Walgreens’ future in California. While Newsom can deny direct support of the chain drugstore, he cannot outright ban them from the state. Either way, many women view Newsom’s stance on the issue as a display of support in a time when women’s reproductive rights are not promised in almost half the country. 

For more information on Newsome’s pullback, go here

Nicholas Stamper can be reached at