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Republican abortion bans in the US restrict women’s access to other essential medicine

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Many pharmacies and physicians are forced to deny patients access to drugs, such as methotrexate, that can be used to help induce an abortion

A few weeks after the supreme court’s 24 June decision to overturn the nationwide abortion rights established by Roe v Wade, the pharmacy chain Walgreens sent Annie England Noblin a message, informing her that her monthly prescription of methotrexate was held up.

Noblin, a 40-year-old college instructor in rural Missouri, never had trouble getting her monthly prescription of methotrexate for her rheumatoid arthritis. So she went to her local Walgreens to figure out why, standing in line with other customers as she waited for an explanation.

When it was finally her turn, a pharmacist informed Noblin – in front of the other customers behind her – that she could not release the medication until she received confirmation from Noblin’s doctor that Noblin would not use it to have an abortion.

Since the supreme court’s elimination of federal abortion rights, many states have been enacting laws which highly restrict access to abortion, affecting 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 essential medications – such as methotrexate – that can be used to help induce an abortion.

Noblin is one of the 5 million methotrexate users across the US and one of the country’s many autoimmune patients. Although she was eventually given her prescription, Noblin and other patients are now forced to grapple both with a monthly invasion of privacy at pharmacies that ask them about their reproductive choices as well as the possibility of being wholly denied the medication in the future due to restrictive laws.

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Source: The Guardian, 26 September 2022

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