How Abortion Providers Are Defying the Coronavirus to Continue Care
As states like Texas and Ohio try to limit abortion access during the Covid-19 pandemic, providers warn that doing so puts patients at undue risk
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest threat abortion providers saw on the horizon was June v. Russo, a Supreme Court case that conservative justices could use to dismantle Roe v. Wade. Then governors began wielding executive power in response to Covid-19, and advocates immediately feared that some politicians would use their power to shut down abortion access.
On Monday, that fear came to pass when Texas governor Greg Abbott issued an executive order requiring physicians to postpone “all surgeries and procedures that are not immediately medically necessary.” The Texas attorney general later clarified that the order applied to all abortion procedures except in cases of life endangerment. Abortion providers across the state were forced to cancel hundreds of appointments. In Alabama, where abortion clinics were deemed essential, providers reported an influx of patients from Texas seeking appointments.
Governor Abbott’s move came after a similar attempt in Ohio, though abortion clinics there remained open. Mississippi governor, Tate Reeves, has indicated he may enact a similar ban, though specifics have not been announced. For abortion providers, who are under tremendous pressure as they continue to provide care in the face of Covid-19, government interference is one of many concerns.
“Patients cannot wait until this pandemic is over to receive safe abortion care.”
Advocates in Texas accused Abbott of using the coronavirus pandemic to cut off abortion access. On Wednesday, in a joint effort with Planned Parenthood and the Lawyering Project, the Center for Reproductive Rights filed suit asking a Texas court to grant immediate relief and restore abortion access in the state.
“Emergency actions during a global pandemic should advance health and safety for us all, not force people to delay much-needed care and possibly exacerbate their health situations by doing so. Patients cannot wait until…