'I see a danger in returning to a pre-Roe world:' Abortion advocates view coronavirus-era restrictions as a dark sign of what could come
May 15, 2020
In non-pandemic times, obtaining an abortion already presented serious legal and logistical challenges for millions of women. For patients who live in certain states, getting care means enduring state-imposed waiting periods, submitting to unnecessary ultrasounds, or rushing to receive care before an arbitrary legal deadline. For patients who already have children, care must be arranged. Those without a car need a ride, especially if the nearest clinic is hours away. Some need flights to more accommodating states. And many, many need funds.
But women seeking abortions since the coronavirus outbreak began faced a new challenge — states' attempts to temporarily limit or ban abortion outright by deeming them "non-essential" procedures, under the pretext of preserving medical supplies for COVID-19 treatment. These restrictions collided with the travel and social distancing restrictions put in place to limit the spread of the virus, leading to an even more precarious situation for abortion care than the one already in place.
Abortion funds see an increase in calls during the coronavirus pandemic
The increase in need comes as unemployment reaches new highs.
By Alexandra Svokos
15 May 2020
As the novel coronavirus continues to impact most aspects of American life, including health care, abortion funds across the country are reporting that calls for assistance have increased.
Abortion funds provide money and other forms of assistance to patients seeking abortions, including to help cover the cost of the procedure itself as well as associated costs like transportation, child care and hotel stays as getting an abortion for many U.S. patients involves traveling long distances to clinics and multi-day processes due to state laws.
Paying for an Abortion Was Already Hard. The COVID-19 Economic Downturn Has Made It Even Harder.
With anti-abortion state officials using COVID-19 to stop legal abortion and millions losing their jobs, abortion funds are seeing a crush of requests.
Mar 27, 2020
For people seeking abortion care, the COVID-19 pandemic has made an already difficult situation harder.
In recent weeks, millions have lost their job, and parents are struggling to afford necessary childcare as schools across the United States have closed until further notice. People are faced with abortion costs that, for most, were difficult to afford in the first place. To make matters worse, states like Texas and Oklahoma have classified abortion care as “nonessential” in their COVID-19 response.
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.
Even in a Pandemic, People Still Need Abortions | Opinion
As the coronavirus spreads across the country, people are sheltering in place and canceling most or all non-essential outings, even doctor's appointments. Abortion patients, however, aren't afforded that luxury and now have to navigate a pandemic on top of an already restrictive web of laws.
Imagine trying to get to an abortion appointment without using public transportation while your city is in lockdown and you are without income. That's the reality many of the people who call into the Northwest Abortion Access Fund are living with right now.
Getting an abortion in “the most pro-life state in America”
Welcome to the Louisiana clinic at the center of the court case that could gut Roe v. Wade.
By Anna North
Feb 19, 2020
Photographs by Annie Flanagan for Vox
SHREVEPORT, Louisiana — The first patients arrive around 10 am.
They wear boots and coats against the December cold, but there’s coffee inside to help them warm up. Christmas figurines — a Santa holding a tree, a quaint house covered in snow — give the place a homey feel. In the waiting room, Friends plays on the TV.
Even before they sit down, though, patients are confronted with reminders that this place is under threat.
How Abortion Pills Will Shape Our Future
The Supreme Court may make it harder to get to an abortion clinic, but thanks to drugs, coat hangers can remain a thing of the past.
By Katha Pollitt
Oct 10, 2019
The news that the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case since Brett Kavanaugh replaced Anthony Kennedy has prompted many to wonder whether Roe v. Wade will finally, unfortunately, be overturned. The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, challenges a Louisiana law requiring clinic doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Sound familiar? In 2016 in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the court struck down a Texas law over a similar requirement. You’d think that would have settled the matter, but no. The case is essentially the same, but the court is not.
What It’s Like to Work at an Abortion Call Center
Amid growing abortion restrictions, the relationship between phone advocates and clients is a mix of customer service and counseling
Sep 10, 2019
On a nondescript street in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, sits a squat one-story building, the kind found in suburban office parks around the country. Past its doors is a maze of rooms with walls painted in welcoming shades of pink, purple, and yellow. In the heart of the operation, a group of workers sit in their cubicles, taking phone calls from clients around the country — and, on occasion, around the globe.
The staff are not offering tech support or assisting someone in tracking down a lost package. They’re helping the many clients of the Women’s Centers — a network of five abortion clinics located in New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Georgia.
Activist Rebecca Gomperts Is Reshaping Last-Ditch Abortion Care
by Greta Moran
Published on July 9, 2019
Abortions are as inevitable as the sun rising. Every year, around 56 million people around the world induce their own abortions, but this doesn’t need to come in the form of a “back-alley” abortion. Dutch activist and doctor Rebecca Gomperts has made it her life’s work to ensure the abortion pill is accessible—even in places where it is outlawed. She describes her work as a form of harm reduction: using medication to induce abortion is the safest alternative to fully legal abortion. So making this method available (and raising awareness of it) mitigates the consequences of harsh laws that criminalize or limit access to abortion. Gompert’s work reduces the potential of self-induced abortion causing harm or a person having to unwillingly carry a pregnancy to term.
The Road to Abortion Is Paved With Bad Bus Routes
July 1, 2019
According to the Guttmacher Institute, roughly 75 percent of those who get abortions are poor or low-income — not necessarily a surprise, given the lack of access to affordable preventative health care and contraception. Unlike most medical procedures, the majority of states don’t cover terminating a pregnancy through Medicaid (with very narrow exceptions), leaving patients to pay for the procedure out of pocket. But for low-income patients — especially in rural areas across the country — finding the funds to pay for an abortion out of pocket is quite literally only half the battle.
The other half? Paying to get to the procedure itself — a task that can cost hundreds of dollars on its own and eat up hours, if not days, of travel time in states that lack usable local public transit systems or mass transportation between rural and urban areas.