Many pharmacies and doctors across the United States in Republican states are being forced to deny patients access to essential drugs due to sweeping abortion bans.
One such prescription is methotrexate, which is used for arthritis as well as other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and psoriasis. It sometimes has been used to treat a variety of cancers too.
Methotrexate also treats rare ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.
Ever since the Supreme Court overturned the national constitutional right to an abortion, many conservative states have been enacting laws that highly restrict access to abortion. This has affected not only pregnant women but also other patients, as well as healthcare providers.
As a result, many pharmacies and physicians have been forced to deny and delay patients’ access to their essential medications.
There are 5 million users of methotrexate across the U.S. Now many of these patients are being forced to undergo massive invasions of privacy at pharmacies, where pharmacists ask them about their reproductive choices in order to receive the medicine if they can receive it at all.
In the future, many of these patients are afraid they will be polly denied due to their state’s restrictive laws.
For 60 years, methotrexate has been considered a cheap, standard treatment for nearly 60 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients. It is also widely used to treat other autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease, lupus, and psoriasis. It has also been used to treat a variety of cancers including leukemia, breast cancer, lung cancer, and lymphoma because the drug inhibits certain cellular functions.
But methotrexate also treats ectopic pregnancies, which are rare, with only about 100,000 occurring annually. Ectopic pregnancies are fatal for fetuses and can severely jeopardize mothers’ health. Therefore, the only treatment is abortion, and methotrexate commonly is combined with other medications to perform the procedure.