Anti-choice protesters are still gathering in large groups, often ignoring physical distancing guidelines, prompting abortion rights advocates to raise money so clinics can hire security services to protect patients.
Every person who makes the decision to have an abortion encounters adversity—cost, travel, childcare, insurance coverage, stigma, protestors and the list goes on. But these barriers became walls in recent weeks.
This juxtaposition of open CPCs and closed abortion clinics proves that these closures have nothing to do with coronavirus—and everything to do with the desire of lawmakers to control women’s bodies and force them to have children they don’t want and often times can’t afford.
The legality of abortion in Texas has been in constant limbo, changing at least five times in two weeks. The COVID-19 crisis is just the latest smokescreen being used to strip women of their reproductive rights and abortion access in Texas.
The coronavirus crisis is being used in order to further limit reproductive rights and bodily sovereignty in the United States. Reading Atwood’s novel through the lens of the novel coronavirus makes it feel like there’s no real novelty here.
While the coronavirus may not discriminate, the pandemic and resulting public health crisis have both spotlighted and compounded the racial disparities created by our inequitable, discriminatory and often exclusionary health care system.
“If I had to get a D&C for a very wanted pregnancy, would I do it in a hospital—and would I then end up exposed to coronavirus? Would that mean that I would spend 14 days in isolation in order to ensure that I didn’t pass the virus to my family?”
Gender is often an ignored factor during health emergencies—even though women comprise 70% of the global healthcare workforce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective policy responses will be those that account for how the crisis is experienced by women and girls.
Right now, women in healthcare are on the frontlines of the response to COVID-19, risking their safety every day to save the lives of those critically ill. Yet, while women make up 78 percent of the healthcare field overall, they consistently make less than their male counterparts across the board.
In England, at least half of all babies are born into the hands of midwives, including both Princess Kate’s and Meghan Markle’s children. In Sweden and Finland, both countries at the top of their obstetric game, care during pregnancy is provided almost exclusively by midwives, with obstetricians involved in only high-risk pregnancies.