A Tucson, Arizona, teenager was refused a refill of a life-saving prescription drug within 48 hours of Arizona decriminalizing abortion under its new law, according to her doctor.
The 14-year-old girl, a patient with debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis, had been prescribed the immunosuppressant methotrexate to combat the pain and symptoms of her disease.
But she was denied a refill after Arizona rolled out its new anti-abortion law on Sept. 24, on the grounds that the drug can also be used to terminate an ectopic pregnancy.
The girl’s doctor, Deborah Jane Power, took to Twitter in a post that has since gone viral, saying the teenager was denied the drug because of her gender.
“Welcome to AZ. Today a pharmacist refused MTX refills for my teenage patient. It is at 5mg/week to prevent AHCA Ab production. MTX refused clearly because she is a female, just a teenager. Livid! No discussion, just denial. Now let’s fight for the best for this pt (sic),” Dr Power tweeted.
He added that the girl was the first pediatrician to deny him medication for these reasons, according to a KOLD news report.
The doctor told the local TV station that the teenager had worked hard over the years to get her pain to a “completely manageable” stage and was now able to go to school as a result.
Arizona banned nearly all abortions last month under the new law that bars people from seeking a medical termination of their pregnancy after the 15th week.
The teenager’s mother also spoke to KOLD TV about the improvements her daughter had seen with the drug and how the family is now concerned that she should seek alternative medication.
“It’s her first year and she’s in high school and it’s like a dream. He is not in a wheelchair, he has a social life and friends for the first time and a life that all young people should have,” the mother said.
She said even a 24-hour wait between the drug being discarded and a new prescription being approved was a source of concern for the family.
“I was scared, really scared,” she said. “I think if they refuse that, then we’ll have to find a different drug and we don’t know if it’s going to work.”
The teenager’s doctor said her concern lay with the pharmacist who did not want to risk being drawn into a battle between the state and people seeking the drug.
He added that the pharmacist chose not to refill the drug because it can be used for abortion.
The report added that the pharmacy that refused to dispense the drug said their focus was on providing drugs in accordance with current pharmacy laws and regulations.