AN INTERNATIONAL CALL TO ACTION
TO: Women, Health Systems, Governments, UN Human Rights Bodies and WHO
27 March 2020
by International Campaign for Women's Right to Safe Abortion
We Need a Rational Policy for Safe Abortion in Every Country NOW!
Every day, in every country of the world, women have abortions. Each year, globally, there are 56 million abortions, or an average of 154,000 abortions every single day. Some 45% of those abortions are still unsafe in spite of 100 years of national and international campaigns for safe, legal abortions.
In almost every country, even where abortions are safe, access to abortion is restricted by antediluvian, punitive and medically unnecessary laws and regulations. The only way many women manage to have abortions at all is if they or an abortion care provider breaks the law in some minor or major way – 25 million times each year if we count only the unsafe abortions. The serious effect of the COVID-19 virus on all our lives has put this absurdity into sharp relief.
Abortion is Not Elective Surgery, and Abortions Must Continue During COVID-19 Pandemic
Thursday March 26, 2020
Texas this week seized the opportunity to ban abortions and blame it on COVID-19. The state banned “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” with no exceptions for severely ill fetuses, babies who will suffer and die at birth, rape victims, or similar groups. Ohio and Mississippi have enacted similar bans, and other states might soon follow suit.
While an abortion rights coalition that includes Texas abortion clinics has already sued to halt the Texas ban, it’s unclear how courts might rule. Moreover, federal courts are moving more slowly than ever, so even if choice advocates win, many women will be denied abortions before they do
Abortion access will be maintained across Canada amid COVID-19 outbreak
Rachel Gilmore, CTVNews.ca Writer
Published Thursday, March 26, 2020
OTTAWA -- As hospitals across Canada begin cancelling and postponing surgeries to contend with the spread of COVID-19, provinces and territories have deemed abortions an essential service.
As the news broke that hospitals were suspending non-urgent and elective surgeries and procedures both in Canada and abroad, stories emerged of abortion access being impeded. In both Texas and Ohio, lawmakers listed abortions among nonessential surgeries and medical procedures that would be delayed to free up resources for the fight against COVID-19.
Telemedicine Abortion: What It Is and Why We Need It Now More Than Ever
by Carrie N. Baker
Antiabortion politicians in states across the country are using the COVID-19 pandemic to block access to abortion—arguing abortion is not essential health care and supporting limitations in the interest of conserving personal protective equipment for COVID-19 cases.
Medical experts, however, are coming to the exact opposite conclusion.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and seven other medical organizations issued a statement last week declaring that abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care and that lack of access may “profoundly impact a person’s life, health and well-being.”
How COVID-19 Is Making It Harder To Get An Abortion In Canada
Last Updated March 26, 2020
The panicked calls about accessing abortions during the COVID-19 pandemic started coming in to the Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights hotline last week, and they haven’t stopped. “People are worried they won’t be able to get to their appointments, or that they won’t be able to even schedule appointments because they’re in quarantine,” says Frédérique Chabot, director of health promotion for the reproductive rights non-profit. “There’s a lot of anxiety.”
Understandably so. In a country where access to abortion — a legal, medical service — is already hit or miss, the potential closure of clinics and the scaling back of services is another looming barrier. And while Canadians likely won’t ever face a situation like women in Ohio or Texas — where anti-choice politicians are using COVID-19 as a completely transparent ruse to stop or indefinitely “postpone” abortions — there’s a very real concern that reproductive healthcare is going to slip down the priority list as the pandemic deepens and resources are stretched thin. “We can’t treat abortion as if this isn’t as urgent as COVID-19,” says Chabot. “It’s so time-sensitive and has such huge consequences, not like other elective surgeries.”
The Coronavirus Outbreak Has Stalled Argentina’s Historic Effort To Legalize Abortion
President Alberto Fernández promised to make Argentina the largest Latin American country to decriminalize abortion. Then a pandemic
By Travis Waldron, HuffPost US
Three weeks ago, Argentina was on the brink of delivering a massive victory to women’s rights advocates there and across Latin America: New President Alberto Fernández, who won election last year, announced in early March that he planned to make legal abortion the first major priority of his presidency.
With strong majorities in Congress and increasing public support behind the effort, Argentina seemed primed to become just the fourth nation in Latin America to legalize abortion ― and the largest country in the region to enshrine the right into law.
Abortion Foes Use the Pandemic as an Excuse
Officials hope to achieve their goal of effectively banning the procedure.
March 26, 2020
Who would have thought COVID-19 would give anti-abortion forces the quick victory they could not win in the courts, in the legislative process, or through the deployment of screaming protesters outside clinics? Claiming abortion is a nonessential service that can be postponed so that the clinics’ medical resources can be used to fight the coronavirus, officials in Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana have moved to severely restrict or cut off abortion services completely; the governor of Mississippi announced his intention this week to do the same. Opponents of women’s reproductive rights hope to achieve, with the stroke of a pen, their dream of making states abortion-free.
For patients at these clinics, the situation is terrifying. “We have patients crying on the phone and staff crying with them,” Kathaleen Pittman, the director of Hope Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, told me. “This is hard. So hard.” The clinic is open but has postponed all of its appointments. “We’re looking at all our options,” Pittman said.
Abortion Providers Are Acting as Travel Agents. That’s Wrong.
The spread of COVID-19 will only further complicate the efforts to get abortion patients to clinics safely and efficiently.
Mar 25, 2020
David S. Cohen & Carole Joffe
We will not find out for a few months how the recently argued U.S. Supreme Court case, June Medical v. Russo, will be decided. But lurking behind the Court’s first abortion case since President Donald Trump appointed two anti-abortion justices is an underappreciated aspect of abortion care in the United States: the extent to which abortion providers serve as de facto travel agents for patients.
If the Supreme Court rules against abortion rights in this case, an already challenging situation will become much worse. But even before the Court rules, the COVID-19 crisis is already complicating abortion care and putting more pressure on providers to troubleshoot travel issues.
Anti-Choice Politicians Are Using the Coronavirus Crisis to Deny Abortion Rights
And they’re succeeding in ways they never could, absent the global public-health nightmare
By David S. Cohen & Carole Joffe
Mar 25, 2020
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, while the rest of the nation is focusing on staying healthy and social distancing, anti-abortion politicians and movement leaders have been doing the only thing they know — pursuing an agenda to shut down abortion clinics. Capitalizing on the mantra to never let a crisis go to waste, they are succeeding in ways they never could, absent the global public-health nightmare.
The chief vehicle they have been using is shutting down what they deem nonessential health care. By now, most people are familiar with orders from mayors or governors that only essential businesses can remain open. Most places that have put these orders in place have also specified that medical facilities can no longer perform elective or nonessential procedures.
NI to offer unrestricted abortion up to 12 weeks
By Jayne McCormack, BBC News NI Political Reporter
25 March 2020
Abortions in Northern Ireland can take place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy "without conditionality", under new laws soon to be in force.
Terminations will be permitted beyond 12 weeks in a number of other circumstances, with no time limit in cases of a fatal foetal abnormality.