Abortion is Essential Health Care: Access is Imperative During COVID-19

Publication Document Type


04.07.20

Primary Content

Abortion is essential health care—this remains especially true during the current COVID-19 pandemic. This resource developed by the Center and the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health argues that reproductive health care, including abortion care, is critical and time-sensitive. Public health and medical consensus indicate that access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care should be prioritized during a health crisis, not restricted by anti-abortion politicians.

Prominent public health and medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises (IAWG) agree that even in emergencies, abortion care is essential and should remain available.  

And yet, throughout the country, officials in several states, including Texas, Alabama, Iowa, Ohio, and Oklahoma, have exploited the current emergency to push their anti-abortion agenda and impose severe limits on abortion care. These policies are harmful to the health and well-being of pregnant people and families and undermine public health efforts to respond to COVID-19. (For an update on the Center’s legal actions against these states, click here.)

Patients seeking abortion care already face numerous barriers, including medically unnecessary mandatory waiting periods and restrictions on medication abortion. Given its time-sensitive nature, an unanticipated delay can make abortion completely inaccessible. During this critical moment in America, it is crucial to prioritize evidence-based policy and ensure that all people have access to comprehensive reproductive health care.

A resource developed by the Center and the Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health