They came for Roe. Now, one right-wing lawyer is coming for PrEP, the medicine that prevents HIV

They came for Roe. Now, one right-wing lawyer is coming for PrEP, the medicine that prevents HIV

As most of us have figured out by now, the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was likely just the beginning. If the court can reverse the hands of time on millions of Americans and their much-needed reproductive health care, they obviously have zero issue with reversing same-sex or interracial marriage, taking away contraception, or even the ability to get lifesaving medicine.

According to The Advocate, a conservative attorney in Texas is a prime example.

Jonathan Mitchell, a former solicitor general and the architect of Texas SB 8, aka the “Texas Heartbeat Act,” now has his eye on making it unlawful for two medications that prevent HIV transmission to be covered under the Affordable Care Act.

Descovy and Truvada are called PrEP drugs, or pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs. When taken pre-coitally, they can reduce someone’s risk of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use.

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In his case, Kelley v. the United States of America, Mitchell argues that each of his clients (the plaintiffs) are “Christian”  and therefore “unwilling to purchase health insurance that subsidizes abortifacient contraception or PrEP drugs that encourage and facilitate homosexual behavior.”

The lawsuit states:

“The PrEP mandate forces religious employers to provide coverage for drugs that facilitate and encourage homosexual behavior, prostitution, sexual promiscuity, and intravenous drug use … It also compels religious employers and religious individuals who purchase health insurance to subsidize these behaviors as a condition of purchasing health insurance.”

PrEP is recommended for anyone who is at risk of contracting HIV—that includes straight women as well as gay men.

Obviously, making it legal for a medical professional to deny care for someone based on their own moral or religious beliefs is a frightening and slippery slope.

Dr. M. Brett Cooper works as an assistant professor specializing in young adult and adolescent medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He tells The Advocate that Mitchell’s proposed law is “unsound,” medically and “constitutionally.”  

He adds, “If my husband or I got in a car accident and needed EMT care because there were no exceptions for emergencies or anything, the EMT could come out on a local ambulance, realize that we are a gay couple, and refuse — at that moment — to touch or transport my bleeding husband for care.”

But conservatives aren’t going to stop with attacks on reproductive rights and abortion, or the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Nope. They’re doubling down on stripping away the rights of anyone who isn’t white, conservative, straight, Christian, and votes Republican.

Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana is apparently okay with states deciding on interracial marriage. In March, when Braun was asked about it, the senator replied: “Yes. If you are not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you are not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too.” He later said he didn’t understand the question.

REPORTER: “You would be okay with the Supreme Court leaving the issue of interracial marriage to the states?” SEN. MIKE BRAUN (R-IN): “Yes. If you are not wanting the Supreme Court to weigh in on issues like that, you are not going to be able to have your cake and eat it too.”

— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) March 22, 2022

And if ending a pregnant person’s right to an abortion isn’t enough, conservative lawmakers are dead set on eliminating access to contraception.

In May, Prism’s Alexandra Martinez wrote: “Legislators in states like Missouri, Louisiana, and Arizona have been vocal about challenging access to contraception like intrauterine devices (IUDs) and emergency contraception like Plan B, claiming that life begins at the moment of conception.”

Also swept up in the wake of Roe’s reversal is a medicine called methotrexate. In addition to treating rheumatoid arthritis, it also treats inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and a variety of cancers, including breast cancer, lymphoma, leukemia, and lung cancer. But in addition to all of this, the medicine can also be used to end ectopic pregnancies, and conservatives now have methotrexate in their sights.

About 1 in 50 pregnancies in the U.S. are ectopic. Without treatment, an ectopic pregnancy can cause serious bleeding or death in a pregnant person.

Lastly, one can’t mention the dismantling of the rights of Americans without talking about Justice “Uncle” Clarence Thomas, who has every intention of rolling back as many rights as possible.

“Thomas argues that the Supreme Court should go beyond ending abortion rights and end those other rights that so many people have been warning that Republicans and this court would next move to dismantle: birth control, marriage equality, the very right to same-sex intimate relationships,” Daily Kos staff writer Laura Clawson writes.

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