“The COVID-19 crisis is upending healthcare systems and putting the lives of patients and health care workers at great risk. But it doesn’t need to further undermine reproductive health and rights. I’m heartened by recent victories in the United Kingdom and New Zealand that protect people’s access to safe abortion services despite the healthcare crisis.”
Marjorie Newman-Williams, Marie Stopes Internatioanl US President, explains in this blog how abortion is essential healthcare, and COVID-19 shouldn’t be used as an excuse to shut down access.
We’re calling on governments to protect women’s health and rights.
The approval of Telemedicine in the UK
Telemedicine makes it possible for people to terminate unintended pregnancies safely at home, under medical supervision. Last week in the United Kingdom, the MSI team mobilized quickly in response to the COVID-19 crisis.
Despite strong opposition and an initial government policy reversal, MSI persuaded the UK health authorities to allow medically supervised abortions to take place at home. While this new regulation excludes Northern Ireland, elsewhere in the United Kingdom women can now receive and self-administer prescribed abortion pills at home up to 10 weeks of pregnancy. Medical experts are celebrating the decision as a positive step for protecting reproductive health and rights, and the UK government’s decision should inspire similar action in the United States and around the world.
The Decriminalisation of Abortion in New Zealand
At MSI, we are also inspired by the recent decriminalization of abortion in New Zealand. Before this landmark decision, women were required to visit their doctor and prove that the pregnancy would be detrimental to their physical and mental health. Under the new law, women can get an abortion without question up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, and in consultation with a doctor later in pregnancy. As it should be, abortion in New Zealand is now a personal decision for a woman and a private matter between herself and her doctor.
Unites States and anti-choice pressures
But here in the United States, anti-choice state legislatures are exploiting the pandemic to impose further hardships on people by seizing the opportunity to shutter clinics and prevent women from exercising their constitutional right to privacy and bodily autonomy. Even in states where clinics remain open, many people who have lost their jobs will face financial barriers to ending an unwanted pregnancy. Yet again, women will pay the price with their health, well-being and financial security.
Read the entire blog at this link: Abortion Is Essential Healthcare