May 4, 2020
When a Pandemic Becomes a Political Tool
Abortion care is time-sensitive essential health care. Even just a few days can make a difference in what options are available – and even if the option is available at all. A global pandemic is not the time to push a political agenda that interferes with people’s lives and rights.
As NARAL & The Center for Reproductive Rights states, politicians are exploiting the fear and urgency of this moment to push their political agenda to ban abortion. Elected officials should be focused on responding to the crisis at hand, not playing politics with people’s health care.
“The historical misclassification of most abortions as “elective” is also central to the vulnerability of abortion care. There is no debate that a minority of abortions are necessary to prevent death or serious physical harm. But this strictly medical model fails to capture the reality that the non-medical reasons that women exercise their constitutional right to abortion are often as important to them and their families as averting a serious health consequence. The long-standing insistence on using the word “elective” to describe the vast majority of abortions frames women’s equality as a luxury and women’s autonomy as expendable. Categorizing abortions as “elective” or “therapeutic” is more of a moral judgment than a medical judgment,3 and it allows people who use these terms to determine a woman’s level of deservingness on the basis of her reason for choosing to pursue abortion.”
Abortion during the Covid-19 Pandemic — Ensuring Access to an Essential Health ServiceMichelle J. Bayefsky, B.A., Deborah Bartz, M.D., M.P.H., and Katie L. Watson, J.D.