Women Are Trying to Survive COVID-19. Politicians Are Trying to Take Away Their Care
Now is the time to be making abortion more accessible, not less
April 10, 2020
By Alexis McGill Johnson
Women are trying to survive this. Moms laid off or missing wages to stay home with their children, still trying to make ends meet. Women in abusive relationships, weathering shelter in place orders. Women hiding in their closets, trying to get through one more conference call between homeschooling and tantrums. Health care workers, the majority of whom are women, going to work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Low-wage workers deemed essential, some leaving their children at home, continuing to put themselves at risk so that the rest of us have what we need to survive.
We are doing the majority of child care, as schools and daycares close. If our families get sick, we will do the majority of caregiving. And as always happens, Black and Latino communities will face the harshest economic consequences, so women of color will face difficult decisions about how to support their families.
States Are Using the Cover of COVID-19 to Restrict Abortion and Healthcare for Women
With constituents distracted by the deadly pandemic, Republican state legislatures across the country are ramping up efforts to limit access to abortion
By Alex Morris
March 30, 2020
On March 18th, as the reality of the coronavirus crisis was becoming painfully apparent to Americans, the Idaho legislature was turning its attention to healthcare concerns of another kind: making sure that women were denied access to abortion at some nebulous future date. Across the country, state legislatures had gone into recess, heeding the social distancing advice of medical professionals. Not Idaho. For at least an hour on the floor of the House, there was vigorous debate over Senate Bill 1385, a so-called “trigger law” that would immediately criminalize abortion in the state if Roe v. Wade were overturned or a constitutional amendment gave states the right to criminalize it themselves. Under the law, performing an abortion would be a felony, except in instances of officially-reported rape or incest, or to save the life of the mother. “Everyone needs to face the consequences of their own personal choices,” Representative Megan Blanksma said in her closing debate, just before the bill passed 49-18 and made its way to Governor Brad Little’s desk to be signed, which it was last Tuesday.
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.
Ohio’s attorney general told providers to stop abortions during the coronavirus pandemic
Ohio says abortions are “nonessential” surgeries. Advocates say all abortions are essential.
By Riley Beggin
Mar 22, 2020
Ohio’s attorney general has ordered health care providers in the state to stop all “nonessential and elective surgical abortions,” citing federal guidance intended to help conserve needed medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.
There are concerns that, due to the coronavirus, the demand for hospital beds could exceed supply in the US — and medical providers are currently experiencing a severe shortage of the personal protective equipment (PPE) that allows them to safely interact with infected patients. In order to preserve what supply exists, Trump administration officials have asked “every American and every American hospital and healthcare facility to postpone any elective medical procedures.”