In this time of panic, medical professionals are swamped by an overwhelming flow of patients and a decrease in medical supplies. However, certain states have used this time to put forth precedents on abortion.
Texas joined Ohio in stating that abortions are considered non-essential services that should not be used during this crisis. Texan providers can be fined or jailed for providing a service. The purpose of this order is supposedly to keep valuable medical resources for only those treating coronavirus victims.
For those in Texas, women are unable to receive an abortion after 20 weeks and need to receive counseling on non-abortion methods before agreeing to the procedure. Ohio is similarly strict, passing a bill that banned abortion after six weeks of fertilization. This Ohio bill has been contested in courts.
However, pro-choice activists have taken to Twitter using the #AbortionisEssential from all over the U.S. to reject these bills.
“For people with undesired pregnancies, being forced to give birth against one’s will during a time of extraordinary social isolation, economic collapse, and health care deficiencies is nothing short of abuse.” #AbortionIsEssentialhttps://t.co/p0ZM2kF1EQ
— Ohio RCRC (@OhioRCRC) March 24, 2020
Abortion supporters took to the hashtag to share their stories, stating that they could not afford to take care of a child financially or emotionally, or that they could physically not carry a baby to term in their body. Others pointed out that in Texas, veterinarians still were open, pointing out that dogs seemed to have better treatment than a woman.
Politicians also pointed out the unfairness of posting this legislation and the unlawfulness of it during a pandemic such as Kamala Harris.
Republicans in Texas and Ohio are using a global pandemic to control women’s bodies. It’s utterly despicable.https://t.co/A77elY80DL
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) March 24, 2020
Aside from politicians stating that this treatment is not fair, and that abortions need to be deemed essential, abortion supporters, activists, and services provide information that this statement against anti-abortion legislation. Elisabeth Smith, a chief counsel of state policy and advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights in Texas stated the reasons of abortions being deemed non-essential were mostly on the basis that personal protective equipment needed to be preserved only for doctors and nurses fighting the epidemic. However, Smith noted that medication abortion and procedural abortion didn’t need this protective gear and did not go against the Executive Order of non-essential surgery.
There is still hope however for those seeking abortions in states that tend to be not supportive of abortions. Federal judges in Alabama and Ohio recently blocked the orders which banned abortion as non-essential. An appeals court did overturn the attempt to do the same to the Texan legislation.
During this time of panic, it is easy for politicians to get political and push certain policies because of this time of confusion. Fortunately, there are people working to fight the right to abortion access.
Source: Chelsi Peter