Emma Thompson: Girl, 14, denied lifesaving ARTHRITIS medication because it can be used for abortions

Emma Thompson was prescribed the immunosuppressant methotrexate to treat the pain and symptoms of her chronic rheumatoid arthritis

Emma Thompson: Girl, 14, denied lifesaving ARTHRITIS medication because it can be used for abortions
14-year-old Emma Thompson was refused her medication under Arizona's new law (Kold TV Screenshot & Earl Neikirk/Getty Images)
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TUCSON, ARIZONA: A teenager in Arizona's Tucson city was refused a refill of a lifesaving prescription drug within 48 hours of the state abolishing abortions under its new law. The immunosuppressant methotrexate was provided to 14-year-old Emma Thompson to treat the pain and symptoms of her chronic rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis. However, she was denied a refill of the medication when Arizona passed a new anti-abortion law on September 24 on the grounds that the medication can also be used to terminate ectopic pregnancies.

The teen was denied the medication because of her gender, according to the girl's pediatrician, Deborah Jane Power. Dr Power stated on Twitter, “Welcome to AZ. Today a pharmacist denied the MTX refill for my adolescent patient. She’s on 5 mg/wk to prevent AHCA Ab production. MTX denied it purely because she’s a female, barely a teenager. Livid! No discussion, just a denial. Now to fight for what’s best for this pt (sic).” She added that the girl was her first pediatric patient to be denied medication on these grounds, according to a report by KOLD news.

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The youngster had put in a lot of effort over many years to reduce her discomfort to a ‘totally manageable’ stage, the doctor told the local TV station, and as a result, she was now able to go to school. The teen's mother Kaitlin Preble also spoke with KOLD TV about the benefits her daughter had seen from the drug and how the family is now concerned that they may need to look for an alternative form of treatment. 

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“It’s her first year and she’s in high school and it feels like a dream. She’s not in a wheelchair, she has a social life and friends for the first time and life all young people should have,” the teen’s mother remarked. She explained that even a wait of 24 hours between the drug being denied and a new prescription getting approved was a source of anxiety for the family. “I was scared, I was really scared. I’m like if they deny this then we’ll have to find a different medication and we don’t know if it’s going to work,” Kaitlin added. 

Under the new legislation that forbids women from seeking medical termination of their pregnancy after the 15th week, Arizona outlawed practically all abortions last month. Other physicians and patients have stated that they, too, have experienced delays and rejections in receiving drugs that could be used for abortions since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade in June. Meanwhile, the American College of Rheumatology issued a statement in July urging pharmacists to fill methotrexate prescriptions 'without delay and with the assumption that they are not being used to terminate a pregnancy.'

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