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.
“Stay Home and Have the Baby”
Texas and Ohio have ordered a stop to abortions, saying they’re not essential medical services. Other states will follow. Right-wing forces are using the pandemic as a pretext to crack down dramatically on abortion rights. We can’t let them.
By Jenny Brown
Texas and Ohio have ordered a stop to abortions, saying they’re not essential medical services, while state officials in Mississippi and Maryland are edging that direction. Their coronavirus prevention program is “Stay home and have the baby.”
The states argued that equipment such as masks used for surgical abortions could be used for care of COVID-19 patients. And they claim if anything goes wrong emergency services would be needed, exaggerating the risk of a safe procedure.
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 is Not Elective Surgery, and Abortions Must Continue During COVID-19 Pandemic
Thursday March 26, 2020
Texas this week seized the opportunity to ban abortions and blame it on COVID-19. The state banned “any type of abortion that is not medically necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” with no exceptions for severely ill fetuses, babies who will suffer and die at birth, rape victims, or similar groups. Ohio and Mississippi have enacted similar bans, and other states might soon follow suit.
While an abortion rights coalition that includes Texas abortion clinics has already sued to halt the Texas ban, it’s unclear how courts might rule. Moreover, federal courts are moving more slowly than ever, so even if choice advocates win, many women will be denied abortions before they do
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.
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.
As Coronavirus Rages On, So Does Anti-Abortion Harassment and Extremism
by Micaela Brinsley, Ms. Magazine
In clinics in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Kentucky, anti-choice protesters have continued to show up at clinics that provide abortion services, refusing to comply with the pressure for people to practice social distancing and shelter-in-place.
Witnesses have reported protesters gathering in front of clinic doors, walking up to patients, and even “shoving unwanted pamphlets and gift sacks into confused patients’ hands” and through car windows—blatantly ignoring public health recommendations for people to stand six feet apart from one other.
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.”
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.