Sophie Cousins, The Lancet
August 01, 2020
Natalia Kanem, executive director of the UN Population Fund, is among experts warning about disrupted health services and a surge in gender-based violence. Sophie Cousins reports.
As the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates, fears are increasing about the effect of the pandemic on women's and girls' sexual and reproductive health and their access to care. In response to COVID-19, in March, WHO issued interim guidance for maintaining essential services during an outbreak, which included advice to prioritise services related to reproductive health and make efforts to avert maternal and child mortality and morbidity.
Dr Ruth De Leon, Sociedad Panameña de Obstetricia y Ginecología (SPOG) shares how the COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in higher levels of unintended pregnancies in Panama, and as a result places a woman at a greater risk to unsafe abortion and maternal death.
13 July 2020
Dr Ruth de Leon
The Panamanian government implemented preventative measures in January 2020, to ensure that access to and the supply of health care remained strong in order to manage COVID-19. Such measures included suspending elective surgeries, visits and external consultations both in the public and private spheres to free-up slots, in addition to suspending vacations for health workers in the public sector as well as making more beds and resources available within the public and private health sector.
Four days after the first case was confirmed in Panama, on March 13, 2020, a curfew occurred, which started out being flexible, of only 8 hours (from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am), but since then there has been a 24-hour curfew.
Coronavirus Created an Obstacle Course for Safe Abortions
But during the pandemic, a few countries liberalized their requirements, allowing at-home medical terminations.
By Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Monika Pronczuk
June 14, 2020
BRUSSELS — When a 19-year-old woman from southern Poland decided to end her pregnancy at 18 weeks, she knew the only way to get an abortion was to rush to a neighboring European country.
Abortion is illegal in most circumstances in Poland, and so for years, many women have traveled within Europe to seek the procedure.
But it was April, and across the continent, borders were closing fast because of the coronavirus pandemic. So she and a friend loaded up their Renault with instant noodles and candy for a 14-hour race to Utrecht, in the Netherlands. They made it just in time for her to have the procedure and return home, her friend said.
The Pandemic And Legal Abortion: What Happens When Access Is Limited?
June 8, 2020
Isabella Gomez Sarmiento
In April, Johanna Cruz terminated her pregnancy with drugs obtained through a telemedicine consultation.
Abortion is legal in Colombia. And Cruz, a street performer from Chile who was backpacking through the Colombian state of Antioquia, did not feel she was in a position to raise a child. She didn't have a steady income or stable housing. And with stay-at-home orders in place to control the spread of coronavirus, she found herself facing homelessness in the town of San Rafael and unable to travel to Medellin, the nearest city with an abortion clinic.
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.
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.
Anti-Abortion Groups Ask Trump’s HHS to Use COVID-19 Outbreak to Stop Abortion
Anti-abortion organizations had a list of suggestions for how the Trump administration could take advantage of the COVID-19 outbreak to cut off access to abortion care.
Mar 24, 2020
Officials from anti-abortion organizations asked the Trump administration on Tuesday to take steps to halt abortion access as part of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Anti-abortion groups, led by Trump ally and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, wrote in a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar that clinics continuing to provide abortion care during the COVID-19 outbreak are “compounding one crisis with another.”
The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Forcing Abortion Providers to Make Impossible Decisions
Mar 24, 2020
The Choices Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, a small clinic in Tennessee, had two doctors providing abortion care until a few days ago. The center, which draws patients from all over the region, sees anywhere between 20 and 40 patients a week, according to its assistant director Katy Leopard: They come from Mississippi, where there is only one clinic providing this kind of care, and from Arkansas, where abortions can be hard to come by, and sometimes from even as far as Kentucky.
In the United States, an estimated 11.3 million women live more than an hour’s drive from an abortion provider, and often doctors will split their time between clinics to provide more geographically comprehensive care. Last year, the Los Angeles Times shadowed a provider who performed 50 abortions in 60 hours when she “commuted” from California to Texas, a feat that now given a roiling pandemic and orders from state governments to “just stay home” seems difficult, if not impossible, to imagine. But clinic workers and reproductive health advocates are trying to manage, considering that even in moments of global crisis, unwanted pregnancies don’t stop.
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.