EXPERT VIEWS: How coronavirus is affecting abortion access

EXPERT VIEWS: How coronavirus is affecting abortion access
What experts from sexual health organisations and rights groups are saying about how COVID-19 is affecting sexual healthcare - and what should be done about it

by Sonia Elks | @SoniaElks | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Sunday, 5 April 2020

Women from Nepal to the United States are struggling to get abortions during the COVID-19 outbreak as lockdowns and medical shortages create barriers to care.

Sexual health organisations and women's rights groups have called on authorities to recognise access to abortion as a human right that must be protected during the pandemic.

Continued: https://news.trust.org/item/20200405091127-tf0kq


New York AG Calls For Nationwide Abortion Access During The Coronavirus

New York AG Calls For Nationwide Abortion Access During The Coronavirus

April 4, 2020
5-Minute Listen / Transcript

NPR's Michel Martin speaks with Letitia James, attorney general of New York, about her call for nationwide access to abortion during the coronavirus pandemic.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to turn now to a subject that has perplexed many people as the country deals with a coronavirus pandemic by closing down most activities. What is an essential business or service and what is not? The answer can vary from place to place. In a handful of states, officials have banned access to abortion clinics during the pandemic in an effort, they say, to preserve needed medical supplies, such as gowns and masks. Texas issued one such ban, triggering a legal challenge that has drawn in officials from other states. New York's attorney general, Letitia James, is organizing other like-minded attorneys general to support the challenge against the Texas measure.

Continued: https://www.npr.org/2020/04/04/827436003/new-york-ag-calls-for-nationwide-abortion-access-during-the-coronavirus


Texas banned me from providing abortions — using coronavirus as an excuse

Texas banned me from providing abortions — using coronavirus as an excuse
The desperation we heard from patients was visceral. Some say they’ll go out of state for their procedures.

By Amna Dermish
April 4, 2020

As the coronavirus has destabilized the lives of millions, some government officials saw a political opportunity. In Texas, our governor and attorney general effectively banned almost all abortion procedures, citing the pandemic, and states including Oklahoma, Ohio and Alabama have taken similar actions. We indeed face an unprecedented public health crisis, one that makes my patients’ ability to access reproductive health care especially urgent. But my state officials have suddenly declared that abortion care is not medically necessary. Any doctor who the state claims violated that executive order faces a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days of jail time.

Continued: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/04/04/texas-abortion-ban-coronavirus/


USA – There’s nothing pro-life about exploiting a pandemic to further a political agenda

There’s nothing pro-life about exploiting a pandemic to further a political agenda
It’s already apparent a small minority of zealots will do everything they can to use the coronavirus crisis to eradicate the right to an abortion

Arwa Mahdawi
Sat 4 Apr 2020

Coronavirus is an unprecedented public health crisis. But, for some Republicans, it’s also a political opportunity: anti-abortion activists are ruthlessly using the pandemic as an excuse to crack down on reproductive rights. Six conservative states – Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas – have categorized abortions as non-essential, except in very limited cases, effectively banning access to the procedure during the pandemic.

Federal judges have stopped the bans from going into effect in most of these states. However, on Tuesday an appeals court ruled that Texas could reinstate its abortion ban. On the same day women were told that their reproductive rights were considered dispensable, Texas’s Governor Greg Abbott declared that religious services were “essential” and in-person gatherings could continue during the pandemic. This is despite the fact that there have been multiple cases of coronavirus spreading in places of worship, with people dying as a result.

Continued: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/04/abortion-restrictions-coronavirus-pandemic-nothing-pro-life


Lockdown in Colombia will affect the right to abortion, says human rights lawyer

Lockdown in Colombia will affect the right to abortion, says human rights lawyer
What happens when a woman has to terminate her pregnancy during lockdown?

Translation posted 3 April 2020

Although necessary for the health protection of citizens, measures taken by the Colombian government to contain the COVID-19 infection, including the national lockdown and closing the borders, may hinder the access of Colombian and Venezuelan women to services that are essential to their sexual and reproductive health.

“In times of pandemic, women will still require the services necessary for accessing safe abortions, emergency contraception, and protection from sexual violence and abuse,” Selene Soto, a lawyer from the Women’s Link Worldwide organization in Bogota, told Global Voices.

Continued: https://globalvoices.org/2020/04/03/lockdown-in-colombia-will-affect-the-right-to-abortion-says-human-rights-lawyer/


Netherlands – Health minister urged to guarantee abortion pill access amid corona restrictions

Health minister urged to guarantee abortion pill access amid corona restrictions

April 3, 2020

Pro-abortion organisation Women on Waves and women’s support agency Bureau Clara Wichmann are urging health minister Hugo de Jonge to act swiftly to make the abortion pill available to women who are unable to make the requisite visit to an abortion clinic because of the corona crisis.

Women who want to terminate an early pregnancy are bound by law to visit an abortion clinic before they can be given the drugs. The current coronavirus restrictions are making this impossible for at least two women in the Netherlands who are self-isolating, the organisations said. Both women want to terminate their pregnancy within the first trimester using the abortion pill.

Continued: https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/2020/04/health-minister-urged-to-guarantee-abortion-pill-access-amid-corona-restrictions/


USA – Republicans think guns are essential during the coronavirus lockdown. Women’s health? Not so much

Column: Republicans think guns are essential during the coronavirus lockdown. Women’s health? Not so much

By Robin Abcarian, Columnist
April 3, 2020

I will give abortion foes this: When it comes to finding new and creative ways of forcing women to give birth to unwanted babies, they are devilishly clever.

In the past few weeks, these relentless crusaders have unleashed a new war on a procedure that is safe, legal and time-sensitive.

Continued: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-04-03/abortion-foes-are-exploiting-the-coronavirus-crisis-to-undermine-reproductive-rights


USA – ‘Constantly Preparing for the Next Crisis’: How Independent Abortion Clinics Are Faring With COVID-19

‘Constantly Preparing for the Next Crisis’: How Independent Abortion Clinics Are Faring With COVID-19
“Patients think clinics are closed; there is increased panic due to patient’s fear of being turned away.”

Apr 3, 2020
Sarah Anne Lloyd

Independent reproductive health-care clinics are still largely allowed to operate, even in cities and states with COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, but the outbreak is straining an already precarious situation.

“What we’re seeing is the barriers that already exist for access to abortion being compounded by the current crisis in a way that it is limiting people’s resources significantly,” said Roxanne Sutocky, director of community engagement at the Women’s Centers, which operates independent clinics in four states. And people most at risk of losing health-care services, including people of color, will be the among the most vulnerable during this pandemic.

Continued: https://rewire.news/article/2020/04/03/constantly-preparing-for-the-next-crisis-how-independent-abortion-clinics-are-faring-with-covid-19/


USA – Seeing Abortion Laws From a Teenager’s Point of View

Seeing Abortion Laws From a Teenager’s Point of View
Eliza Hittman explains how she came to make her timely odyssey “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” the unusual movie about abortion rights that makes bureaucracy the villain.

By Reggie Ugwu
April 3, 2020

Before writing her new movie, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” about the odyssey of a 17-year-old girl in present-day Pennsylvania seeking a legal abortion, the director Eliza Hittman embarked on a journey of her own. Hittman makes movies of quietly operatic intensity about vulnerable characters in unremarkable places. To find their narratives, she begins in the field, exploring prospective locations like a sculptor wandering a quarry.

Hittman, who is 40 and lives in Brooklyn, traveled by bus to a blue-collar town in Pennsylvania, where state law forbids minors from receiving an abortion without a parent’s consent. There, she toured so-called crisis pregnancy centers, which counsel against abortion regardless of circumstance, and posed as a woman who feared she might be pregnant and needed advice.

Continued: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/03/movies/abortion-movie-director.html


Ensure access to high-quality abortion care during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

OPINION: Ensure access to high-quality abortion care during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

by Kelly Blanchard & Thoai D. Ngo
Thursday, 2 April 2020

The global response to the spread of COVID-19 has changed life dramatically. Evolving restrictions on travel and physical distancing mean that access to contraception and abortion services will become even more difficult for people facing challenges accessing reproductive health care. This pandemic will leave a permanent impact on the health sector—but it presents an opportunity to adopt evidence-based strategies to expand access to information about and access to self-managed medication abortion at home.

Two new evidence reviews show that women can manage abortions with safe and effective medicines during early pregnancy. Self-managed abortion (SMA) is an important option for people seeking abortion care—especially now, as our health systems face severe resource constraints.

Continued: https://news.trust.org/item/20200401101727-x6857