Roe v. Wade overturn: Autoimmune patients having problems getting methotrexate prescriptions filled

·2 min read

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, many autoimmune patients across the country are having problems getting their prescriptions for methotrexate refilled. The drug is used to treat several autoimmune conditions; however, it can also be used to induce abortion.

Doctors fear state abortion bans will limit access to lifesaving medications.

Pennsylvanians with Crohn’s, lupus, arthritis and even some cancer patients are all watching closely as neighboring states with abortion bans in place have begun to block lifesaving medications for these patients.

“It’s an insult to our medical training and it’s an insult to patients,” said Dr. Grace Ferguson, an obstetrics and gynecology provider at Allegheny Health Network.

Doctors in states with abortion bans are now being blocked from prescribing lifesaving medications to individuals with chronic illnesses and cancer, leaving many patients without an alternative.

“Methotrexate is a medicine that’s used all the time for lots of chronic medical conditions, but it’s also used for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy,” said Dr. Lisa Perriera, the chief medical director for the Women’s Centers.

For that reason, doctors who prescribe the medication in states with restrictive abortion bans risk losing their medical licenses.

“I have colleagues who are in Ohio and Texas that have to call the hospital attorneys to get permission to give them the medical care that they know is right,” said Perriera.

Many doctors say this is prohibiting them from providing quality care and is placing their female patients at risk.

Women are suffering, women who are not seeking abortions, women who are not seeking pregnancy are falling into the what if fear-hole,” said Ferguson.

Men and others who are not of birthing age can receive the necessary care that doctors say everyone deserves.

“Reproductive age women are treated with inequity all the time,” said Perriera.

Despite the very real risk of death for some of these patients, legal experts warn that there are few protections for doctors in states with restrictive abortion bans.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has taken away the most important protection, and unless the U.S. Congress steps in and passes a statutory right, then we are left with what our state is willing to do,” said Sue Frietsche, do-director of Women’s Law Project Pittsburgh.

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