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Walgreens To Stop Distribution And Sales Of Abortion Pills In 20 States

Walgreens has announced that they won’t be distributing abortion pills in 20 states, despite some of them being states where abortion is legal, after receiving a warning letter from Republican attorneys general. 

The letter itself warned Walgreens that they could face legal consequences if they sold abortion medication within their states. NBC News reported that Walgreens responded to every attorney general who wrote to them, agreeing to not sell abortion pills by mail or in stores within the 20 states mentioned. 

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“This is a very complex and in flux area of the law, and we are taking that into account as we seek certification to dispense mifepristone,” Fraser Engerman, Walgreens’ senior director of external relations, told NBC News.

“We are not dispensing mifepristone at this time. We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program, however we will only dispense in those jurisdictions where it is legal to do if we are certified,” Engerman stated.

Albertsons, CVS, Costco, Kroger, Rite Aid, and Walmart also received letters making the same demands and warnings. 

The attorneys general who sent the letter were from states where abortion is currently illegal, such as Kentucky, Mississippi, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia, and in states where abortion is still legal such as Alaska, Florida, Iowa, and Montana. 

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“We emphasize that it is our responsibility as State Attorneys General to uphold the law and protect the health, safety, and well-being of women and unborn children in our states,” the letter said.

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey said on Facebook that he wants to ensure “that pharmacies throughout the nation aren’t subverting state and federal statute to ship abortion pills in the mail.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, more than 50% of US abortions in 2020 were done using medication instead of surgery. 

In response, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Monday that the state will no longer be doing business with Walgreens due to their decision to no longer sell abortion medication. 

“California won’t be doing business with @walgreens — or any company that cowers to the extremists and puts women’s lives at risk,” Newsom said in a tweet.

Governor Gavin Newsom To Lift Covid-19 Stay-At-Home Orders In California 

Despite California being one of the most infected Covid-19 hot spots of the entire world, Governor Gavin Newsom is announcing this week that he will lift all regional coronavirus stay-at-home orders for the state. This means establishments that promote close contact such as restaurants, gyms, and bars, will be able to reopen in certain counties. 

All counties in the state will return to the colored tier system that applies local risk levels based on case numbers and rates of positive test results. Most counties are expected to go into the “widespread” risk tier, which “permits hair salons to offer limited services indoors, but restricts many other nonessential indoor business operations. The change is expected to take effect immediately after Newsom’s announcement this Monday,” according to the Los Angeles Times. 

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Los Angeles County has become a national/international hotbed of the coronavirus. Hospitals have been completely overwhelmed by patients, Southern California is reporting close to 0% availability in ICU beds. In less than a month more than 5,000 people have died of Covid-19 in LA County alone. 

Outdoor dining bans and stay-at-home orders, however, have been widely opposed due to the economic impact of having so many local businesses shut down indefinitely. However, critics then just raised the point that the government should be bailing out those businesses and placing every American’s health and safety as the top priority. 

The stay-at-home orders were initially enforced in the beginning of December in an effort to reduce the amount of stress hospitals were under as case numbers continued to rise exponentially due to the holidays. Once ICU beds have a capacity of over 15%, certain regional shutdowns can be lifted, according to Newsom’s office. 

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However, earlier this month Newsom lifted the orders for the Greater Sacramento region despite daily reports of available ICU beds never approaching even close to the 15% threshold which was thought to be a state requirement for lifting the restrictions. 

The Bay area has reported a 23.4% ICU bed capacity, and has on the other hand remained under the stay-at-home order due to a four-week projection of a decrease in hospital bed availability for the area. As of this Saturday Southern California showed literally no ICU availability, and the San Joaquin Valley region reported a 1.3% capacity. These numbers were released two days ago, and Newsom is still moving forward with lifting some of the state’s restrictions. 

Health officials are also expressing major concern over a new and potentially more contagious variant of the virus that has been detected in California. One of the newer variants is thought to be 50% more transmissible than the already extremely contagious standard Covid-19 virus that we’ve been fighting for the past ten months. 

Two weeks ago certain officials were in talks to close down the state’s malls and outdoor gyms, however, no action was taken, and those establishments continue to stay open. Only time will tell if more federal action from the Biden administration is taken to give these states the opportunity to recover.

California Coronavirus

California Governor Prepares For Second Statewide Lockdown Amid Spikes In Covid-19 Cases

California Governor Gavin Newsom claims that the state is setting daily records this week for new cases of Covid-19.

California Law

New California Law Would Allow N.C.A.A. Athletes to Make Money

As a general rule, college athletes are not paid more than the cost of their tuition, regardless of how much money they may make for their university. Many have decried this longstanding national policy as unfair, and recently California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law that would allow college players to hire agents and strike endorsement deals, upending a policy considered standard in every other state. The law was passed despite the extensive lobbying of universities and powerful organizations who opposed the measure. Though the law is not set to go into effect until 2023, it is already causing confusion and pushback among college sports teams and leagues.

According to Newsom, while the law only applies to California, it represents “a big move to expose the farce and to challenge a system that is outsized in its capacity to push back.” Newsom considers it fundamentally unfair that the only students who are not able to monetize their image, likeness, and skills are athletes, even though these students generate perhaps the most revenue of any student group. It has long been the philosophy that student athletes attend university to earn a degree, not to make money, but as the industry of college sports has exploded this view is starting to change, much to the chagrin of colleges and student-athlete organizations. The N.C.A.A. has called the measure “unconstitutional” and is developing a legal defense against the law.

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When the law goes into effect in a few years, it will directly contradict current N.C.A.A. guidelines, which govern the participation of student-athletes in sports. Currently, the guidelines strictly prevent student-athletes from making money in a variety of ways, ranging not only from banning sponsorships but to preventing athletes from selling autographs and monetizing social media accounts. This means that after the law goes into effect, student-athletes who hire agents and win endorsements will violate N.C.A.A. guidelines despite being legally allowed to do so, potentially incurring fines from the N.C.A.A. It’s not currently clear whether the N.C.A.A. could legally enforce such fines.

As California is among the most populated states in the country, it would be difficult for the N.C.A.A. to afford to penalize the state’s universities and athletes, who make up a significant portion of the American college sports industry. And although the law only applies to California, it is sure to have reverberations throughout college sports in general, as leaders will be forced to decide whether to change their rules barring athletes from making money in order to accommodate Californian student-athletes, or simply ban these athletes from competitions.

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As the 2023 deadline approaches, other states are looking into the possibility of ensuring that student-athletes can receive compensation as well. Because California is such a large and influential state, they are likely to lead the way on this and similar legislation, and there’s a good chance other states follow suit. The enacting of similar legislation, or the lack thereof, is likely to be a determining factor in the question of how the N.C.A.A. changes its rules.

With this law, California is intending to force the N.C.A.A.’s hand, as Newsom claimed they were “not going to do the right thing on their own.” Both Republicans and Democrats were in favor of the bill, but as 2023 is still four years away, there is time for the law to be modified depending on how developments in the industry proceed. The law had the support of LeBron James, who hosted a television show on which Newsom signed the bill. Because only a small percentage of college athletes become professional athletes, the law is thought to give more students an opportunity to make money off of their athletic abilities which they hone during the course of their education.