14 year old girl denied medication because of new abortion law speaks out

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Oct. 3, 2022 at 9:59 PM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -After a 14 year old girl was denied her medication because of the state’s new abortion law which prohibits abortions except to save the life of the mother, her doctor says some older women in their 30′s have also been denied until they proved they are taking contraception that’s proven effective.

“We’ve had some adult females that have that issue and have to prove they were on a birth control that was 99% effective so that they could get their methotrexate,” said Dr. Deborah Jane Power, the doctor for the 14 year old girl.

Methotrexate is a common drug which is used to control rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, lupus and other autoimmune deficiencies. But it is also used to induce abortions due to ectopic pregnancy which can be fatal. For that reason, her doctor believes, she was denied her medication even though she had been getting it for years without incident.

14 year old Emma Thompson has been using methotrexate since she was a young child to control her RA and other autoimmune diseases.

“My entire life I was in and out of the hospital,” she said. “I was never able to stay in school until this past year, I was never able to ride a bike or get on the monkey bars like other kids could.”

It took years for the family and Dr. Power to come up with the right combination of drugs to control her illness and pain to the point she could lead a normal life.

Her mother was upset and concerned when she was not able to pick up her daughter’s medicine.

“I was in tears, I was scared,” said Kaitlin Preble. “I have a huge paranoia of my daughter going backwards to where she used to be and that makes me really nervous.”

Walgreens filled the prescription 24 hours after notifying the family that they would need the doctor’s permission before it could be filled even though it had been refilled many times in the past.

This was two days after the new abortion law took effect and there was likely some concern on the part of the pharmacist about repercussions. The law says anyone who aids or assists in an abortion can face two to five years in prison.

Even though it was finally refiled, the family had some anxious moments.

“The pharmacist didn’t look at my history,” the teen said. “She just denied my prescription because of my age.”

“It’s not right,” she said. “They’re trying to make any girl whose on this medication drop a pregnancy test when they get their medicine and I feel like it’s really unfair.”

The doctor was not notified before the refilled was approved.

For the doctors, the concern is if the women don’t have a strong advocate or put up a fight, they could be denied life saving medication.

“My 25 years as a physician, what I’ve learned, what I’ve trained, all the extra hours of study, is just being tossed away by lawmakers,” Dr. Power said. “For some patients it’s incredibly serious, it’s the medication that’s keeping their disease under control.”

For the 14 year old first time high school student, it’s about more than her.

“I couldn’t do a lot of things that other kids could do when it was a kid and I don’t want any other little girls to have to go through that because of the new abortion law,” she said.