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Non-Pregnant Women and Girls Are Being Denied Lifesaving Medications Due to Fear of Abortion Laws

Doctors have stopped prescribing certain medications, and pharmacists have stopped filling them, because the drugs could hurt hypothetical fetuses.

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Rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoporosis. Debilitating cluster headaches. Crohn’s disease. Acne.

These are just a few of the conditions going untreated in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade because the medications used to treat these conditions—some of which women and girls had already been taking for years—can cause pregnancy complications are abortions. Except many of these patients aren’t even pregnant and don’t plan to be any time soon.

A local news outlet in Arizona reported this weekend that 14-year-old girl in Tucson was denied a refill on her prescription for methotrexate, a drug she’d been taking for arthritis and osteoporosis, because a judge recently allowed a Civil War-era abortion ban in the state to take effect, and the drug in question is also used to induce abortions in cases of ectopic pregnancies. The Arizona law, passed in 1864 before it even officially became a state, bans all abortions and threatens two to five years in prison for anyone who would provide them. There are no exceptions for rape and incest—only for life of the mother, an exemption that often forces women to prove they are actually dying in order to get the medical care they need.

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Following a tweet about the 14-year-old’s situation, another Tuscon mom weighed in and claimed the same had happened to her daughter.

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Jezebel just reported last week that a woman in New York, who said her cluster headaches were so debilitating that she had contemplated suicide, was denied medication by her doctor because she is of childbearing age and the medication she needs poses risks to a hypothetical fetus. She recorded her conversation with the doctor, because she didn’t think people would believe her.

Jack Resneck, president of the American Medical Association, told Politico they are seeing examples like this across the country. “These are not just rare anecdotes,” said Resneck. “The quantity we’re hearing — and we know we’re only hearing a tiny fraction of what’s going on — is significant.”

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Medical groups are now sounding the alarm on the situation, as abortion bans have a ripple effect on critical medical care that is risking people’s lives.

“What we really need is for states to withdraw some of these laws, and if they’re refusing to do that, we at least need them to clarify the things they don’t intend to get caught up in these laws,” Resneck told Politico. “I just can’t sugarcoat how dangerous this is for our patients.”