In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Dr. Kristyn Brandi, Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:
“We at Physicians for Reproductive Health share the nation’s concern about the coronavirus outbreak. We are outraged that instead of prioritizing support for the urgent needs of our nation, anti-abortion members of Congress are using this as a time to attack abortion. It is terrifying that instead of focusing on the crisis at hand and providing communities the resources they need to stay safe, Congress is trying to add anti-abortion language to the coronavirus rescue package.
“This situation highlights how much work we still must do as a nation: we need paid family and sick leave, we need health insurance and health care, we need food, clean soil, housing, and water security. Our organization realizes that this crisis impacts not only access to health care, but also our collective ability to thrive. Our hearts go out to families who have been exposed and who have experienced losses from this pandemic.
“We recognize that this crisis affects us all. Business and school closures can mean job loss and lost wages, lost educational hours, falling behind on mortgage or rent payments, and possibly food insecurity. Being low-income or uninsured may mean delaying seeking treatment. Our organization has long advocated for access to high quality health care, affordable health insurance, paid family leave, and strengthening our nation’s safety net programs. The spread of the coronavirus highlights that we must continue to work together to achieve these goals.
“We know this is an extremely trying time for people seeking health care, including abortion care. Abortion care is already difficult to access due to unnecessary and dangerous political, financial, and societal barriers. At a time like this where it is becoming harder for many to get paid or unpaid time off of work, find childcare, or access public transportation, we are concerned at how this will impact communities facing existing barriers to health care. This includes Asian Pacific Islander, Black, and brown communities, people working low-wage or hourly-wage jobs, people who are self-quarantining, homeless populations, young people, rural communities, immigrants, and LGBTQIA folks. People will still need access to abortion, contraception, pregnancy, cancer screenings, and other reproductive health care during this crisis.
“Simultaneously, we know that the clinics and hospitals where our physician advocates work are doing all they can to keep their patients, team members, and communities safe. This means, in many cases, instituting travel restrictions for health care providers. Many of our physicians travel to other states to provide abortion care, and this will have an impact on these communities who already face a shortage of physicians providing full spectrum reproductive health care.
“In light of all of this, we encourage you to show your support for your communities by supporting local businesses, taking care of your family, friends, and neighbors. We encourage you to support abortion access by donating to local abortion funds.
“We call on our elected officials to do their jobs not just in response to the coronavirus, but in response to our needs as communities. We decry the efforts to stigmatize and attack abortion in this time of crisis in state houses and Congress. We urge lawmakers to prioritize expanding access to resources that keep us safe, paid, fed, and healthy. For all of us.”