Breaking News
More () »

Texas doctors seeing increase in calls for contraceptive counseling

Methotrexate, a medicine used to help auto-immune patients, like those battling cancer, is becoming harder to fill because of the state's largest anti-abortion laws.

TEXAS, USA — John Thonppil has been a doctor for 20 years and is trained to handle emergencies. But in the three weeks since the Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade, Thonppil said it's been difficult talking to his female patients. 

"It is sad. I had a lady directly tell me, older a little bit higher risk of complications, but she said, 'I don’t know if I’m comfortable getting pregnant in this state. We might move to have a baby.' And that breaks my heart because I said, 'you know trust me. We will help you through your complicated pregnancy.' But that’s her fear. And if she’s thinking. I know others are thinking it," said Dr. Thonppil. 

Thonppil is the president of the state's Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. He said is hearing of a rising trend among 3,000 Texas doctors. 

"We are definitely seeing an increase in calls for contraceptive counseling. People calling for tubal ligations (having their tubes tied)," he said. "People using less effective forms, like condoms, are often coming in now for another birth control consult."

RELATED: House votes to restore abortion rights nationwide; Senate odds slim to none

Thonppil said more women are asking for IUD's, a type of long-term birth control implanted into a woman's uterus.

"Realize, an IUD is a reversible contraception that is as effective as tying your tubes," Thonppil said.

An IUD can be inserted moments after a woman gives birth or at any time in a doctor's office. 

Birth control could soon be available without a prescription, within a year. 

HRA Pharma is asking the FDA to allow "Opill," a progestin-only pill, to be sold over-the-counter.

Meanwhile, prescriptions for methotrexate are becoming harder to fill.

"I had a colleague of mine, a fertility doc, reach out to me, a major chain that’s here, based in Austin, has made it a policy that they won’t fill methotrexate," Thonppil said. 

RELATED: Yes, methotrexate, which can end a pregnancy, is also used to treat certain diseases

Because of the state's largest anti-abortion laws.

Methotrexate is the standard of care for ectopic pregnancies, when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, doctors say. The egg can't survive and if left to grow, it can damage a woman's organs and cause life-threatening loss of blood. 

"So by not providing methotrexate, we really could be killing people," Thronpill said. 

The medication is not used for elective abortions. But is used to help auto-immune patients, like those battling cancer. 

"It makes no sense," Thronpill said. "Thankfully, other larger chains have filled it without issues. So I was able to help my colleague find the right place. But I think these are sort of the unintentional consequences of what we’re dealing with.

On its website, the Texas Association of OBGYN shares its concerns about state laws interfering in the exam room. 

Doctors are calling on politicians to work with their organization, which advocates for women's health. 

"If you want to avoid pregnancy, we’ll help you there. If you’re a high-risk pregnancy, we’ll help you there," Thronpill said. "Know that the doctors here will continue to do what is medically needed if you have an emergency."

Melissa Correa on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Before You Leave, Check This Out