Eight U.S. states have ordered abortion facilities to stop performing the procedure in response to the coronavirus outbreak, while others are protecting abortion providers or allowing them to operate.
As the federal government and states continue to implement myriad measures to mitigate the spread of the virus and to also preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) for use in the treating patients during the pandemic, many states have banned non-essential procedures to this end.
The issue of whether abortion qualifies as an essential procedure has been hotly contested. Some abortion providers have refused to stop conducting abortions, while some states are specifically clarifying that abortion facilities fall under the non-essential category. And numerous states have conversely acted to explicitly protect abortion - even as Americans across the nation have been forced to put off essential medical procedures.
Like many aspects of the pandemic, statistics on states banning or safeguarding abortion are in a state of continual change.
- Surgical abortions have been specifically ordered to stop in OH, TX, LA, MS, TN, KY, OK, IA
- Non-essential surgeries have been banned, yet abortions continue in MD, FL, CO, MI, RI, AZ, NY, AK, IN, WV, GA, VT
- Non-essential surgeries have been banned but governors have made a special exception for abortions in MN, MA, WA, IL, NJ, CA, PA, AL, NC, VA, NM
- A total of thirty states have issued orders specifically directing health care facilities to cease performing non-essential medical procedures
As of right now, only TX has ceased committing surgical abortions, the group said.
Created Equal is urging pro-life supporters to contact the nation's governors to advocate for life amid the pandemic, providing a resource for taking action.
Individuals are asked to call the red state governors and ask them to enforce their orders (see the map above) and to also call the governors in purple state and ask them to write a cease and desist letter to the abortion centers that are not complying.
Created Equal President Mark Harrington pointed out that, “If the surgery wasn't elective, they wouldn't call it a ‘choice.’”
Tweet This: “If the surgery wasn't elective, they wouldn't call it a ‘choice’” - Created Equal's Mark Harrington, on abortion's "non-essential" status
Heartbeat International is providing resources to affiliate pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) to assist them in continuing to meet the needs of women facing unplanned pregnancy during the coronavirus outbreak. Heartbeat has supported PHOs with prayer, and also with the centers' streamlining services and serving clients remotely more through technology/remotely. Heartbeat is providing coronavirus-specific resources on the Heartbeat International website as well. All of the materials and resources adhere to Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization and OSHA guidelines.
Heartbeat International's 24/7 bi-lingual pro-life contact center Option Line and the Abortion Pill Rescue Network are both operating around the clock and are fully staffed to continue to meet the needs of women and families in crisis during the pandemic.
Editor's note: Heartbeat International, which manages Option Line and the Abortion Pill Rescue Network, also manages Pregnancy Help News.