"Pro-Choice Clinic Escort" by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

State Officials Try to End Legal Abortion During COVID-19 Crisis

Mar 24, 2020

By Dennis Carter

Governors and other state officials across the United States are deciding whether abortion care is an “essential” health-care service, as many states halt nonessential surgeries to create capacity for the expected crush of COVID-19 patients.

Declaring a medical procedure as “nonessential” would mean postponement for those seeking care. In a March 18 joint statement, medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, urged state officials not to group abortion services with nonessential health care.

The statement reads:

To the extent that hospital systems or ambulatory surgical facilities are categorizing procedures that can be delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic, abortion should not be categorized as such a procedure. 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.

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