ICYMI: Georgians Face Hurdles Obtaining Essential Prescription Drugs Due to Kemp’s Extreme Abortion Ban

August 31, 2022

Experts Say “Even a Small Delay Can Cause Harm”

Gov. Brian Kemp’s extreme abortion ban continues to endanger Georgians’ health. New reporting by CBS46 shows that Kemp’s ban on abortion is creating issues for Georgians who aren’t even seeking reproductive care, noting that people “are having trouble picking up medication that’s been prescribed to them by licensed doctors” due to the ban, threatening their ability to secure essential medication for health issues like cancer, arthritis, and ulcers.

Health care providers are also being hampered by the law, with the new report noting how “pharmacists…are scrambling” to avert criminal liability just for providing necessary care. Previous reporting has shown that Georgia medical students are rethinking practicing medicine in the Peach State due to doctors potentially being thrown in jail for providing lifesaving reproductive care and that Kemp’s extreme ban could lead to an increase in Georgia’s maternal mortality rate.

Just a few weeks ago, Georgia doctors raised these same concerns and more during a panel discussion on Kemp’s extreme ban. Health care providers pointed out how the law will threaten the ability of doctors to treat miscarriages, force doctors and women to live under constant fear of investigation or criminal prosecution, and intensify stress on Georgia’s health care system. 

Read more from CBS46: Georgia’s new abortion law is having some unintended consequences

  • Some Georgian residents are having trouble picking up medication that’s been prescribed to them by licensed doctors. It’s an unintended result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade, and is complicating access to essential drugs.
  • “The pharmacy tech said we have to get additional information from your doctor,” [Atlanta resident Cindi] Gatton said, “And that’s when he told me we need the doctor to tell us the diagnosis that they’re prescribing for.”
  • Because of Georgia’s controversial “heartbeat bill,” most abortions are now banned in the state at roughly six weeks of pregnancy. Gatton, however, said she’s past child-bearing age, and even if she wasn’t, she believes her privacy has been invaded.
  • “If a licensed physician writes a prescription, a pharmacy can and should fill it,” she said. “That’s the obligation of the pharmacist.”
  • Now, it seems pharmacists, who have liability for the prescriptions they fill, are scrambling.
  • According to patient advocacy groups like the Global Healthy Living Foundation, dozens of women are also having problems getting Methotrexate – another drug which treats arthritis but can also be used to end a pregnancy – at pharmacies.
  • Zoe Rothblatt with the Global Healthy Living Foundation tells us, “Many of our members – only women — have been asked to validate their diagnosis, particularly in states with anti-abortion trigger laws, despite having prescriptions written by their health care providers. Our members are fearful that they won’t be able to get their medications and even a small delay can cause harm.”
  • Some Atlanta OB/GYN’s believe Georgia’s abortion law will delay patients from seeking care. “So we are, under this law, unable to take care of those patients, and that’s really egregious,” Dr. Megan Cohen explained.
  • At a recent panel sponsored by the Democratic Party of Georgia, Dr. Cohen talked about the restrictions Georgia’s abortion ban could create for women experiencing miscarriages.
  • “The medications we use to treat a miscarriage are exactly the same that we use for a medication abortion, so not only is it going to delay people from coming in but it’s also going to restrict our ability to treat people who are in the midst of a miscarriage,” she added.
  • Atlanta OB/GYN Dr. Tiffany Hailstorks believes women of color will be disproportionately affected.
  • “We’re going to see communities that are already disenfranchised and already having issues with access to care having more issues and that gap becoming wider, with these restrictions,” Dr. Hailstorks said. “We’re gonna see poorer health outcomes for mothers and for babies.”
  • But Gatton believes doctors’ and patients’ concerns are valid, and she doesn’t like experiencing politics at the pharmacy. “This just seems like a burden on an important part of the health care system that is unnecessary,” she said.


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