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COVID-19 + Repro Resources

In this urgent global health pandemic, anti-abortion lawmakers are once again playing politics with people’s lives and health, and there are very real reproductive health impacts and needs this moment presents.
Click here for general RFLC talking points on the coronavirus.

Important: Here are some issues that you should talk to your repro coalition and abortion and family planning providers about. In some states, they may want public support and in other places, it may be harmful to raise these issues at all, even within the administration or with other, less friendly, legislators or officials. Your support of reproductive health care is crucial at this time. Please check in with the state coalition organizations and reproductive health care providers to see how best you can support them during this difficult time, and we encourage you to reach out to us to connect you if you don’t already have an existing relationship.

  1. Ensure patients can get the reproductive health care they need. Abortion is an essential and time-sensitive procedure.

    Resources to help make the case:

    • After the ban was briefly lifted, Texas will again be allowed to implement its temporary ban on abortions “not medically necessary to preserve the life or health” of the patient as part of the state’s directive suspending “non-essential” medical procedures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read more.
    • The coronavirus pandemic is deepening the divide on abortion access between blue and red states by sparking a debate over whether the procedure is medically essential. Read more. And find an updated list on where states stand from Rewire News here.
    • In Massachusetts, a memorandum shared this week clarifies what constitutes a “nonessential, elective invasive procedure” that should be postponed or canceled while Massachusetts is under a state of emergency. Abortion care was classified as an essential procedure. Read more.
    • In Michigan, an executive order was issued classifying pregnancy and pregnancy related procedures as essential.  Read more.
    • In New Jersey, an executive order explicitly includes family planning & abortion care services as essential services. Read more.
    • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, along with seven other reproductive health organizations, issued a statement deeming abortion as an essential service. Read more.
    • The National Abortion Federation (NAF) calls on leaders to ensure that outpatient abortion clinics can remain open and urges hospitals to continue to provide abortion care. Read more.
    • In reality, both complications and emergency department visits related to abortion care are exceedingly rare as this research from Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health illustrates.
  2. Ask your state’s coalition how court closures may impact young people seeking care in states that have parental involvement requirements: More than half of states have such requirements for young people seeking abortion care and provide access to judicial bypass alternatives.
  3. Consider how existing telehealth laws and services in your state might be helping or harming access to reproductive health care including abortionSeventeen states ban telehealth for abortion, and the urgency of expanding telehealth has grown considerably. There is no reason other than politics to exempt medication abortion from telehealth services.

    Resources to help make the case: 

    • As Rewire News reports, A visit to a primary care doctor or OB/GYN to get something relatively routine, like a birth control prescription, will likely take a backseat during the COVID-19 outbreak, as cities go into various states of lockdown and hospitals brace for an overload of patients. Read more.
    • Click here for a fact sheet from the EMAA Project on how telehealth can help improve access to medication abortion.
    • Guttmacher Institute offers a policy review of how telehealth can improve access to abortion here.
    • Ibis Reproductive Health provides issue briefs here which explains how telehealth models have expanded access to abortion, and here which describes the safety, effectiveness, and satisfaction with telemedicine for medication abortion.
  4. Economic uncertainty and reproductive health care: As Americans consider facing new economic challenges, remember that all health insurance, public and private, should cover all reproductive health care needs, including abortion. Work to ensure your state’s Medicaid program and public employees’ health insurance covers abortion care and that private insurers do the same.Resources to help make the case:

    • The Guttmacher Institute updated their overview of where state funding of abortion under Medicaid stand. You can find your state here.
    • All* Above All unites organizations and individuals to build support for lifting the bans that deny abortion coverage. Click here to learn more about their campaign to restore public insurance coveragefor abortion.
  5. Stay vigilant. Extremist legislators are still advancing outrageous abortion restrictions and bans despite a global pandemic.

    Resource to help inform: