Teen Denied Arthritis Medication Under Arizona’s New Abortion Ban

TUCSON, Ariz. – A 14-year-old Tucson girl was denied a refill of a life-saving prescription drug she had been taking for years just two days after Arizona’s new abortion law had taken effect. 14 year old Emma Thompson has debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis which has kept her in and out of the hospital for most of her life. She relies on methotrexate to help tame the effects of the disease.

But methotrexate can also be used to end ectopic pregnancies, to induce an abortion and that’s where the problem arises. “As a mother who has had to deal with my child being very ill most of her life, I was scared, I was really worried,” said her mother Kaitlin Preble. “I was shaking. I was in tears. I didn’t know what to do.” The young girl’s physician, Dr. Deborah Jane Power said “this was the first pediatric patient that had been denied her medication.”

“This child’s care has taken a lot of work to get her to a place her pain is totally manageable, she can attend school in person,” said Dr. Power.

“It’s her first year and she’s in high school and it feels like a dream,” Preble said. “She’s not in a wheelchair, she has a social life and friends for the first time and a life all young people should have.”


Dr. Power fought for her patient to get the lifesaving drug, and eventually Thompson got her refill—at least for this month. “The pharmacy technician pushed the pharmacist to eventually refill for this month,” Power said.


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