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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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.
Spike in Maltese women seeking abortion help amid flight ban - UK charity
Maltese women are calling the UK for advice on terminating pregnancies
April 1, 2020
A UK-based charity offering support to those living in countries with restrictive abortion laws has seen an increase in calls from Maltese women unable to travel to have an abortion.
Last week Abortion Support Network received eight calls from Malta – the same number it usually deals with in one month, founder Mara Klein Clarke said.
Most of the women who called were seeking advice on how to terminate their pregnancies with the travel ban meaning they can not fly to the UK, Klein Clarke told Times of Malta.
Federal judges in 3 U.S. states block orders limiting abortion access over COVID-19
Caroline Kelly, CNN
Published Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Federal judges in Alabama, Ohio and Texas have blocked orders banning nonessential medical procedures from limiting abortion access during the coronavirus outbreak, a win for abortion rights activists as the fight over abortion rights intersects with the worsening pandemic.
"Because Alabama law imposes time limits on when women can obtain abortions, the March 27 order is likely to fully prevent some women from exercising their right to obtain an abortion," federal Judge Myron Thompson, from the Middle District of Alabama, wrote Monday. He temporarily halted the order, issued by the state's Health Department earlier this month, until April 13.
Coronavirus: Home abortions approved during outbreak
By Jim Connolly, Newsbeat politics editor
31 March 2020
Patients in England can now have home abortions during the Covid-19 outbreak, the government in England has said.
Abortion policy has changed several times during the current pandemic.
Women and girls wanting to terminate an early pregnancy were first told the service would be available but that decision was then retracted.
New abortion laws for Northern Ireland comes into force
The new regulations will allow terminations in Northern Ireland for the first 12 weeks
By Shaun Keenan
31 MAR 2020
Newly published regulations on abortion services in Northern Ireland will come into force on Tuesday. MPs in Westminster passed the changes to abortion last year in the absence of a power sharing assembly at Stormont.
The new regulations will allow terminations in Northern Ireland on request for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and up to 24 weeks in cases of a risk of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or girl.
Texas abortion ban can go back into effect, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules
By Kate Smith
March 31, 2020 / CBS News
Texas will again be allowed to implement its temporary ban on abortion, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday afternoon. Per the order, any abortion "not medically necessary to preserve the life or health" of the patient must be halted as part of the state's directive suspending "non-essential" medical procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The ban was briefly lifted on Monday evening when a lower court ruled the suspension of abortion services was unconstitutional and in violation of Supreme Court precedent, including Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide.