I Traveled To Texas During The Pandemic To Provide Abortion Care. Here’s What I Saw.
Closing clinics, banning telehealth and enforcing waiting periods is dangerous and burdensome at any time, but especially during this pandemic.
Glenna Martin, M.D., M.P.H.
May 25, 2020
As I flew out of Texas in February, I never imagined the tragedy and upheaval that would take place before I was able to return eight weeks later.
I travel monthly from Seattle to Texas to help provide abortion care. But at the end of March — as the coronavirus pandemic was ramping up —Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order halting such care, deeming it nonessential — an order reinforced by the state’s attorney general.
How coronavirus is changing access to abortion
Health care practitioners are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions during the pandemic.
By MIRIAM WEBBER
As the coronavirus steamrolls the global order, reproductive health care practitioners and advocates are struggling to maintain access to contraception and abortions.
Lockdowns and disrupted supply chains have prompted a flurry of action in the sector as governments, practitioners and advocates react to a crisis that has highlighted the often tenuous access to sexual health care products and services.
'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.
COVID-19 Abortion Bans Could Have Alarming Effects Far Beyond This Crisis | Opinion
Rachel Rebouché and Mary Ziegler
The right to an abortion may be enshrined in Roe v. Wade, but it is never safe. A new attack is underway, even as tens of thousands of Americans die and tens of millions file for unemployment.
A month into the COVID-19 pandemic, 11 states began to effectively ban abortions by categorizing them as "nonessential" medical procedures. These states argue they have to stop abortions to conserve hospital beds and personal protective equipment, such as surgical masks.
Getting an abortion just got harder, thanks to the coronavirus. Here’s what we can do better
May 11, 2020
Erica Millar, Lecturer, La Trobe University
The COVID-19 crisis has starkly revealed the patchy and precarious provision of abortion in Australia, deepening existing inequalities in access.
What was already an expensive procedure may be even less attainable for many women facing financial strain during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a shortage of staff and resources is likely to be affecting access for many women seeking an abortion – particularly those in regional and rural areas.
Abortion Bans Are Bad Medicine—Especially During a Pandemic
by Aliza Norwood, MD and Anu Kapadia
As doctors on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are putting our lives on the line to to care for our patients. Yet while our patients and colleagues suffer, governors across the nation are using the pandemic as a political tool to ban abortions. Rather than listen to the very doctors they say they are protecting, these lawmakers are defying medical evidence and expert recommendation.
In our home state of Texas, Governor Abbott’s coronavirus-related executive order on March 22 to delay all “non-essential” surgeries and procedures was interpreted by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to include nearly all abortions. A dizzying back-and-forth battle between the AG and pro-choice groups went all the way to the Supreme Court before the state blinked and announced the ban was “over” on April 22.
Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health Service
Michelle J. Bayefsky, B.A., Deborah Bartz, M.D., M.P.H., and Katie L. Watson, J.D.
May 7, 2020
N Engl J Med 2020; 382:e47
Each year, nearly 1 million women choose to end a pregnancy in the United States, and about one quarter of American women will use abortion services by 45 years of age. Women’s ability to determine whether and when they have a child has profound consequences for their self-determination and for the economic, social, and political equality of women as a group. Because access to safe abortion care is time-sensitive and vitally important, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other reproductive health professional organizations issued an unequivocal statement on March 18, 2020, that they “do not support Covid-19 responses that cancel or delay abortion procedures.”
COVID-19 Should Not Be Used as an Excuse to Implement Abortion Bans
April 30, 2020
by Surya Swaroop
As the United States is struggling to adapt to the unprecedented influx of patients with symptoms of COVID-19, there is a strong concern that the number of medical supplies available will not be able to keep up with the demand. While this is a pressing matter that the federal government needs to address, some Republican politicians are using this issue to further their political agendas. They have deemed abortions a nonessential medical service, citing the need to conserve medical supplies as the reason abortions should be banned during this time.
The logic of this argument is flawed on every level and indicates how little these politicians regard women’s reproductive health issues.
The fight over Texas’ abortion ban during the COVID-19 pandemic is over, but what did it all mean?
Abortion rights advocates are rushing to help women as another federal legal fight looms over them.
By María Méndez
Apr 28, 2020
AUSTIN -- A lawsuit over whether Texas can halt abortions under coronavirus executive orders ping-ponged back and forth between federal courts, resulting in periods of little to no access, over the last month.
The heated legal fight, which at one point appeared to be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court, dwindled last week under a new gubernatorial order that eased restrictions on elective medical procedures, allowing abortions to resume.
'It Wears on Your Soul': COVID Has Created an Abortion Nightmare in Texas
In recent weeks, providers have been forced to cancel hundreds of abortion appointments, then call patients back in, only to send them home once more. Abortion funds are helping manage the fallout.
by Mary Tuma
Apr 27 2020
When Texas officials effectively banned abortion in the state in late March, Kamyon Conner and her staff rushed to figure out how to compassionately tell clients that they could no longer access care. Conner doesn’t run an abortion clinic, she’s the executive director of the Texas Equal Access Fund, an abortion fund that provides financial assistance to women in north, east, and west Texas. Their hotline was already busier than normal even before Texas used the coronavirus pandemic to restrict access to abortion.