- DEMI LYNCH -
Numerous states in America are labelling abortions as non essential elective procedures in an attempt to ban them.
Seven states have issued orders to limit abortion access due to the pandemic.
In mid March Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost ordered all abortion clinics in the state to stop performing "nonessential" abortions and surgeries.
According to CNN, "the order was issued, in part, to preserve PPE for health care providers who are battling the Covid-19... and also to preserve critical hospital capacity and resources."
Similarly in mid March, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton also issued a ban on all abortions unless the procedure would preserve "the life or health of the mother.”
Both states claim these bans were put in place due to the pandemic yet only last year both states attempted to enact the 'heartbeat bill.'
The 'heartbeat bill' prohibits patients from receiving an abortion if the feutus has a heartbeat, which is normally first detectable at six weeks into pregnancy.
The states of Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana and Arkansas have followed in the footsteps of Texas and Ohio and have also attempted to ban abortions amid the pandemic.
They all claim abortions are elective non essential procedures and banning them will preserve more beds and PPE for health professionals.
Daniel Grossman is the director of the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health at the University of California and says that is a "baseless argument."
"Using a pandemic, and the need for personal protective equipment, to ban abortion is not a legitimate argument," Grossman says, "This is just another attempt to circumvent the law and make abortion inaccessible for all, particularly during a global public health crisis."
He says surgical abortions actually requires less PPE than if the patient continued with their pregnancy.
As of April 16, all seven states are now being sued for their actions.
Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Centre for Reproductive Rights have filed emergency lawsuits against Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio.
And the American Civil Liberties Union has sued Arkansas for unfairly targeting abortion providers "while letting other medical professionals, like dentists, continue to operate."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now advised all governments should maintain respecting a women’s right to sexual and reproductive healthcare during the Coronavirus pandemic.
But many charities are urging the World Health Organisation to officially declare abortions as an essential service during the pandemic so no more states in the U.S can attempt to ban them.
As stated by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, abortion is "an essential component of comprehensive health care," that cannot be postponed during the pandemic.
It is unjust for governments to exploit this pandemic for their own political agenda.
If this continues to happen, without access to abortions America can expect a rise in pregnancy complications, unsafe at home abortions, and families struggling financially.