Missouri’s major healthcare provider stops emergency contraception after Roe – so it could be the first of many

Top line

A major healthcare provider in Kansas City no longer provides emergency contraception, and pharmaceutical companies such as Amazon, Walmart and CVS have limited purchases amid growing demand in the days after the Supreme Court overturned Rowe v. Wade, fueling concerns that some states’ broad wording Prohibitions on abortion will go far beyond the procedure and will restrict access to birth control, vital medicines, reproductive health and fertility treatments such as IVF.

Key facts

St. Luke’s Health System, which operates 16 hospitals and campuses in the Kansas City region, no longer provides emergency contraception in Missouri due to the state’s strict anti-abortion law, according to Kansas City Star.

The law prohibits almost all abortions in the state, except in medical emergencies, including pregnancies that result from rape or incest, and clinicians who violate the ban are charged with a Class B crime (which carries sentences of 5 to 15 years) and to have their medical license revoked.

Although aimed at abortion, the wording of the Missouri law is “ambiguous” and could be interpreted as “criminalizing emergency contraception,” said St. Luke’s spokesman Laurel Gifford. Kansas City Star.

Gifford, who reaffirmed the policy change after news began circulating among advocates for victims of sexual violence, explained that the system would not put its clinicians at risk of prosecution due to unclear law, and said Saint Luke’s would not provide emergency contraception. in Missouri until clarified.

Saint Luke’s in Kansas, where the right to abortion is protected by the state constitution, will continue to provide emergency contraception, Gifford added, although he acknowledged that this may not be an ideal or convenient option for patients.

The restrictions in Missouri come as major pharmaceutical companies such as Walmart, RiteAid, CVS and Amazon restrict emergency contraceptive purchases such as Plan B across the country amid sharply growing demand as a result of the decision.

Key background

The Supreme Court overturned Rowe v. Wade on Friday, ruling it had no constitutional right to abortion and allowing states to ban the procedure. The decision, which expired in a draft form in February by Politico, raised concerns about access to contraception. The court stated in its decision that the decision applies only to abortion and does not call into question other precedents, including the one establishing the right to birth control. However, experts predict that the precedent may be put at risk and, in line with the ruling, Judge Clarence Thomas argues that the court “should consider it” and set it aside – along with other judgments on LGBTQ rights – through future affairs.

What to watch for

More countries are implementing abortion bans. Thirteen states had so-called “trigger laws” ready to ban abortion if and when the Supreme Court overturned Rowe v. Wade. Some of them, such as Kentucky and Louisiana, were due to take effect immediately after the Court’s ruling. Others, including North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and Missouri, take longer because they are delayed or require certain procedural steps from government officials. The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports the right to abortion, believes 26 states will ban or severely restrict access to the procedure. While 16 states recognize some degree of legal protection for abortion, this is disputed in some countries. This includes Kansas, where abortion rights will be granted to voters in August.

What we do not know

How far do anti-abortion laws extend and what do they cover? The broad wording of some state bans on abortion – many of which ban the procedure at any time after fertilization and use medically inaccurate language such as “unborn child” or “unborn human being” – raises a number of legal issues for other areas of medicine, in particular birth control, reproductive health and fertility treatment such as IVF. Some state bills do not recognize these problems at all, creating ambiguities such as what is now seen in Missouri, and those who care about releasing things like birth control or IVF do not necessarily do so in a legally comprehensive manner. These problems will be exacerbated in countries that seek to go beyond the ban on abortion and provide fetuses with legal rights on an equal footing with children. These so-called fetal “personality” accounts could theoretically lead to new situations if not formulated carefully, such as a freezer full of embryos in an IVF clinic with the same legal status and protection as a school full of children.

Tangent

Some drugs used for abortions have other uses, especially for the treatment of miscarriages. State bans on abortion mean they may be more difficult to access. There are already reports of this in Texas, where the US ban on abortion after six weeks and abortion with drugs already leads to reports of pharmacists refusing to prescribe drugs prescribed for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies. After the decision of the Supreme Court, the anecdotes shared online increased Forbes failed to confirm – in patients struggling with access to drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, as they are also used for abortions.

More information

US pharmacies reportedly set limit on purchase of emergency contraceptive pills (Guardian)

Rowe Wade’s rollover: Here’s how it will affect reproductive health – beyond abortion (Forbes)

The reversal of Roe V. Wade: Here’s how it can affect the treatment of fertility and IVF (Forbes)

Rowe Wade’s rollover: Here’s how it could jeopardize access to birth control (Forbes)

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