As Americans across the country face health risks and economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The New York Times editorial board is calling for even more access to abortions.
The Times editorial board accuses states who have declared abortion clinics a “non-essential” business as “exploit[ing] a pandemic that’s already cost hundreds of American lives” in order to “restrict women’s bodily autonomy.”
Texas, Ohio, and Louisiana have all made that declaration, sparking the ire of abortion advocates. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists even issued a joint statement at the start of the pandemic urging states to treat abortion clinics as essential businesses:
Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care. It is also a time-sensitive service for which a delay of several weeks, or in some cases days, may increase the risks or potentially make it completely inaccessible. The consequences of being unable to obtain an abortion profoundly impact a person’s life, health and well-being.
“The ‘nonessential’ bit is obvious nonsense and the delay a transparent attempt to put abortion out of reach for those who need it,” the editorial reads. “…These state leaders know that once an abortion clinic closes for any significant period, it becomes difficult to reopen.”
According to the Times editorial board, if states restrict abortion access during the pandemic (and other potential crises), certain radical solutions should be adopted: abortion pills in the mail, taxpayer-funded birth control, and taxpayer-funded abortions.
“Given the coronavirus pandemic, it is incumbent on the F.D.A. to relax its regulation on mifepristone, at least temporarily,” the Times said of abortion pills by mail. “Doing so would allow many women to get a prescription for abortion-inducing drugs from a doctor via telemedicine, at which point the medications could be mailed to the patient. Unfortunately, 18 states effectively ban abortion care via telemedicine — measures that also ought to be lifted, at least for the time being.”
After advocating that Americans have “birth control for all,” the editorial concludes by calling for the abolishment of the Hyde Amendment, allowing the government to fund abortions with taxpayer dollars.
“It’s long past time to end America’s bans on government funding for abortions, like the federal Hyde Amendment and similar state measures,” the Times’ editorial board concludes. “These bans mean that poor women already struggle to afford reproductive health care — an issue that’s sure to be exacerbated during the coronavirus crisis and the economic fallout from it.”
The historic $2 trillion stimulus bill recently passed by Congress will not be helping abortion providers conduct their business during this unprecedented time. Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, denounced President Trump and the GOP for not allowing abortion clinics to benefit from the package.
“It has become shamefully clear that not even a global pandemic will stop the Trump administration or Republican Congressional leaders from attacking access to reproductive care,” said McGill Johnson in a statement. “Our leaders should be working to support the nation’s full network of safety-net health care providers during these uncertain times. Instead, the Senate bill targets Planned Parenthood and expands the harmful and discriminatory Hyde amendment, putting up even more barriers to care for women, people with low incomes, and communities of color.”