Abortion bans restrict medications women need for chronic conditions

·2 min read

Noraa Wise is living with a rare, autoimmune bone disease that causes pain in her ribs. She describes it as feeling like needles.

The 10-year-old Indiana girl struggled before she started taking methotrexate as treatment.

"It took about two weeks and she said she wasn't in pain anymore," her mom, Tyse Wise, told CBS News.

Methotrexate is often used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease and cancer. But it can also be used to terminate nonviable pregnancies, where a fertilized egg grows outside the womb.

After the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade, pharmacies in some states made methotrexate harder to get, regardless of what it's being prescribed for.

"As soon as I started hearing about women in other states having this issue, I started asking the question, is this going to be a problem?" Tyse Wise said.

It was a problem for Annie England Noblin, who takes the drug for rheumatoid arthritis. She lives in Missouri, a state that has banned almost all abortions. She says her pharmacist wouldn't fill her prescription until confirming it wasn't for an abortion.

Noblin said her reaction was "immediate anger." She's also worried about her next refill.

"If we can't get it, then we may have to move to something else that might not be as effective or our insurance might not approve," she said.

Dr. John Thoppil, an obstetrician-gynecologist in Austin, Texas, says he has prescribed methotrexate about 10 times over the last year for nonviable pregnancies. Some women, he says, are reporting trouble getting it from pharmacists, fearing prosecution for aiding an abortion.

"There's no doubt women are going to be hurt," Thoppil said. "People are individually interpreting laws and women are definitely going to get hurt by the delay of care."

Back in Indiana, Tyse Wise says she can only hope there's no interruption because methotrexate has been a game-changer for her daughter.

"She's felt so much better and she's playing, she's making artwork again, she's being a kid," she said.

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