Can Abortion Bans Affect Access To Vital Medications?

Since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last month, ending the constitutional right to obtain an abortion, much is uncertain about the state of reproductive health care in the U.S. But many laws banning or severely restricting surgical and medication abortions may also affect Americans' access to other vital and life-saving medications (via Medical News Today). As it turns out, some drugs that are used to treat serious health conditions can also cause miscarriages.

Because of this, several states have already restricted access to some of these medications, including methotrexate, mifepristone, and misoprostol, while other states are expected to pass similar laws in the coming months. Although these pills can be used to induce abortions, they can also be used to treat incomplete miscarriages and terminate ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening. Methotrexate is also used to treat conditions that are unrelated to pregnancy, like autoimmune disorders and certain types of cancer.

Some patients are being denied access to vital medications

As a matter of fact, methotrexate is often used to treat lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. That's because the drug can help reduce inflammation in the body, which is a major symptom of all three conditions (via TODAY). Because of methotrexate's potential to cause a miscarriage, however, some patients with lupus and other autoimmune disorders are being denied access to this vital medication.

While these medications have only been banned in the context of abortions (per Medical News Today), patients in several states are now having a hard time trying to get their prescriptions filled due to concerns from both physicians and pharmacists over potential legal consequences in the wake of abortion restrictions.

According to Dr. Kenneth Saag, the president of the American College of Rheumatology, this is highly concerning. "We've got a lot of people on a very effective medicine who may now have limited access to it due to concerns, particularly by pharmacists, and we need ultimately to clarify policy and to make sure patients continue to have unfettered access to medicines," Saag told TODAY.