Texas banned me from providing abortions — using coronavirus as an excuse
The desperation we heard from patients was visceral. Some say they’ll go out of state for their procedures.
By Amna Dermish
April 4, 2020
As the coronavirus has destabilized the lives of millions, some government officials saw a political opportunity. In Texas, our governor and attorney general effectively banned almost all abortion procedures, citing the pandemic, and states including Oklahoma, Ohio and Alabama have taken similar actions. We indeed face an unprecedented public health crisis, one that makes my patients’ ability to access reproductive health care especially urgent. But my state officials have suddenly declared that abortion care is not medically necessary. Any doctor who the state claims violated that executive order faces a $1,000 fine or up to 180 days of jail time.
Anti-Abortion Activists Are Winning the Coronavirus Pandemic
The pandemic has achieved what years of Supreme Court battles and hundreds of restrictions could not: it has choked off access to legal abortion.
by Carter Sherman
Mar 28 2020
Over the past few weeks, as vast swathes of U.S. society have shut down in an effort to curb the coronavirus, the pandemic has achieved what years of Supreme Court battles and hundreds of restrictions could not: It has choked off access to legal abortion.
The global disruption caused by coronavirus has become yet another battle in the American abortion wars, and it’s one that anti-abortion activists are winning.
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.”
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.
How Anti-Abortion Activists Are Taking Advantage of the Coronavirus Crisis
By Robin Marty
March 24, 2020
In just two weeks the novel coronavirus managed exactly what anti-abortion activists struggled for nearly five decades to accomplish: it is the biggest threat to legal abortion in America ever imagined. The entire globe is facing completely uncharted territory in public health, and many are working to address the pandemic by implementing telemedicine and other online tools to care for everyday health needs while COVID-19 patients inundate hospitals. This could help people in need of abortions, too — if legalized, doctors could remotely prescribe medication to be taken at home that would terminate pregnancies up to 10 weeks. Yet despite having a safe and effective means of ending an early pregnancy without any need to physically see a medical professional, abortion opponents are instead using this moment to close as many abortion clinics as possible throughout the U.S. — an action that will lead to another health system crisis even if COVID-19 is contained.
Texas and Ohio Include Abortion as Medical Procedures That Must Be Delayed
The moves by the states set off a new front in the political fight over abortion during the coronavirus pandemic.
by Sabrina Tavernise
Published March 23, 2020
Texas and Ohio have included abortions among the nonessential surgeries and medical procedures that they are requiring to be delayed, setting off a new front in the fight over abortion rights in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
Both states said they were trying to preserve extremely precious protective equipment for health care workers and to make space for a potential flood of coronavirus patients.
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.”
Coronavirus Is Endangering Abortion Access. Telemedicine Could Solve it.
Almost 40% of abortions take place in the privacy of one's home. Why must pregnant women to go to the clinic at all?
By Melissa Jeltsen, HuffPost US
Imagine you take a cruise in late February. When you get back to the U.S., you start to self-quarantine out of concern that you were exposed to coronavirus on the ship. Then you find out you are pregnant. You do not want to be. What do you do?
If you were in Canada, you could get a doctor to prescribe you what is colloquially known as the “abortion pill,” which you could pick up from your local pharmacy. Using medication abortion, women end their pregnancies by taking a combination of two drugs, usually spaced 24 hours apart, which essentially cause a miscarriage.
The FDA Could Improve Abortion Access Under Coronavirus But It Won't
Abortion pills have to be picked up in person at a clinic. Advocates say that has to change during the pandemic.
by Christine Grimaldi
Mar 19 2020
When Donald Trump used “two very big words” to declare a national emergency over the novel coronavirus on Friday, he bragged about giving his top health official the “ability to waive laws to enable telehealth” during the pandemic. But it appears that the president’s latitude will not apply to medication abortion care, a federal agency confirmed to VICE.
People who want to end their pregnancies will have to navigate the same restrictions as always, which will become all the more complicated in a pandemic environment.
Joint Statement on Abortion Access During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Mar 18, 2020
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, together with the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the American Gynecological & Obstetrical Society, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the Society for Academic Specialists in General Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Society of Family Planning, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, released the following statement:
“As hospital systems, clinics, and communities prepare to meet anticipated increases in demand for the care of people with COVID-19, strategies to mitigate spread of the virus and to maximize health care resources are evolving. Some health systems, at the guidance of the CDC, are implementing plans to cancel elective and non-urgent procedures to expand hospitals’ capacity to provide critical care.
“While most abortion care is delivered in outpatient settings, in some cases care may be delivered in hospital-based settings or surgical facilities. To the extent that hospital systems or ambulatory surgical facilities are categorizing procedures that can be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion should not be categorized as such a procedure. Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care. It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible. The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person’s life, health, and well-being.