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.
OPINION: Ensure access to high-quality abortion care during and after the COVID-19 pandemic
by Kelly Blanchard & Thoai D. Ngo
Thursday, 2 April 2020
The global response to the spread of COVID-19 has changed life dramatically. Evolving restrictions on travel and physical distancing mean that access to contraception and abortion services will become even more difficult for people facing challenges accessing reproductive health care. This pandemic will leave a permanent impact on the health sector—but it presents an opportunity to adopt evidence-based strategies to expand access to information about and access to self-managed medication abortion at home.
Two new evidence reviews show that women can manage abortions with safe and effective medicines during early pregnancy. Self-managed abortion (SMA) is an important option for people seeking abortion care—especially now, as our health systems face severe resource constraints.
Self-managed abortions should be universally available
March 24, 2020
Sam Rowlands, Visiting Professor, Health and Social Science, Bournemouth University
A combination of feminist advocacy, new drugs and the internet is allowing people to safely end early pregnancies themselves when they choose to do so. People can manage abortions using medicines without face-to-face contact with doctors and nurses.
A service at a distance, supervised by a doctor, was first offered by Women on Web in 2005 for countries with no lawful access to medical abortion. Women Help Women offers similar help to women anywhere in the world. And in the US, Aid Access – a fairly new organisation – offers email support. (In the US, online help is increasingly used because access to abortion clinics has been reduced in the last few years.)
‘I Feel Very Powerless’: How Abortion Providers Are Dealing With COVID-19
Abortion providers face a complex interplay of questions about how to balance their own health, the need to physically distance, and the potential of COVID-19 to limit patients’ ability to travel for abortion services.
Mar 23, 2020
When Dr. Sheila Ramgopal woke up on March 15, the COVID-19 warning signs were there. A dry cough. A sore throat. Some tightness in their chest, and a temperature slightly over 100 degrees.
“Not even a fever in my mind,” Ramgopal, medical director of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, told Rewire.News. But the symptoms met the criteria to be tested for COVID-19. All that was missing was a known exposure to someone who had tested positive for COVID-19.
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.
African countries are trying to liberalize their abortion laws. Trump’s ‘global gag rule’ is making that difficult.
Activists say the policy has forced some countries to take a step backward
March 5, 2020
In 2016, churches in the small southeastern African country of Malawi did something surprising: They backed a law to expand abortion access.
At the time, Reverend Alex Benson Maulana, chair of the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), said that abortion was still a sin. But Malawi was also facing a crisis: In a country with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, 18 percent of those deaths were due to unsafe abortions.
Training Providers on Law and Clinical Norms
Mozambique liberalised its abortion law in 2014, granting legal abortion on request in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, and longer term limits in cases of rape, incest and foetal anomaly. FIGO National Member Society, The Associação Moçambicana de Obstetras e Ginecologistas (AMOG), was proud to support this change in law.
Clinical norms to guide treatment were also made available, and benefitted from AMOG’s technical expertise while being developed. However, barriers that prevent women accessing abortion care remain; although we have the law in place, it is often not being implemented.
NT abortion waiting times decrease in public hospitals after 2017 law reform
By Lauren Roberts
Jan 16, 2020
The average wait time for a surgical abortion in the Northern Territory has dropped from three weeks to two — but nearly two in three women are waiting longer than clinical guidelines recommend, new data shows.
Research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology this month analysed surgical abortion data from 2012 to 2017 in one public hospital in the NT.
'Make abortion pills available at clinics, pharmacies'
People buy abortion pills online as they are an easier and less stigmatised route.
By Teh Athira Yusof
January 6, 2020
KUALA LUMPUR: Experts are calling for abortion pills to be made available at public health clinics and pharmacies to prevent cases of overdose and serious health complications.
Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM) hotline coordinator Dr Sim Poey Choong said while the dangers cited by the Health Ministry regarding the overdose of abortion pills were correct, it hardly seemed to be a good reason to prevent the pills from being prescribed and supervised by doctors to provide safe abortions in early pregnancies.
Family planning, viable approach toward checking maternal mortality
On January 5, 2020
Amid increased advocacy for the adoption of birth control methods, many women, particularly in rural communities, still resist prescribed modern methods, thereby becoming pregnant so often and not having enough rest and intervals between their children.
The lack of rest also affects womens’ health, as their body may not get enough time and nutrients to recuperate before undergoing another cycle of pregnancy.