Week in Review 4-17-2020

The GOP is more committed than ever to restricting women's access to reproductive health care. They are continuing to wage war on women by declaring that abortion is not an essential service during the Coronavirus pandemic.

States have placed restrictions that have effectively banned or blocked the availability of abortion services.

Women in these states may not even be able to travel to another state to receive abortion care. Some state officials are preventing drivers from crossing state lines and subjecting non-residents to 14-day quarantines, which could increase the logistical costs pregnant people face. Methods of transportation have also been affected.

The loss of jobs, the risk of exposure to the coronavirus, and the uncertain future of the COVID-19 outbreak further complicates the situation. All of these factors can make it nearly impossible for women to access their necessary abortion care.

If women can get to a clinic, they are met with protesters who are violating social distancing and the stay-at-home-order. They are intimidating the women and potentially spreading the virus as well.

Even the stimulus package gives President Trump's Small Business Administration the leeway to deny funding to Planned Parenthood, and the final law also includes Hyde Amendment-like language, which experts say prevents state and local governments from using COVID-19 funds to help abortion services.

Those clinics forced to close during the stay-at-home orders face difficult financial situations. Some may not reopen after the ban is lifted. Many states already have too few clinics to serve their families. 

For now, it's up to the courts, which are filled with Trump's anti-choice judges, to decide if these clinics can remain open. Last weekend, a federal judge ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state's response to the coronavirus. That judge, Myron Thompson, was appointed by President Jimmy Carter.

Even during this trying time, we must remain committed to protecting reproductive freedom. We do not need to sacrifice our reproductive rights to remain safe from the Coronavirus.

Courts matter and elections matter.