Health Policy

August 1, 2020: COVID Threats to Reproductive Rights

Posted on August 01, 2020 at 12:00 AM

The pandemic has made abortion harder for women to access in some states, including Texas, since abortion was deemed not essential. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) doesn’t have to overturn Roe v Wade in order to make it difficult for women to access birth control and abortion.

On July 8, SCOTUS ruled against the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage mandate. Women employed by companies with religious or moral objections will no longer have access to FDA-approved birth control through their employer-sponsored health insurance. And this despite the National Women’s Law Center report that increased access to birth control reduces abortion rates nationwide.

But, the news is not all bad: On June 20, SCOTUS struck down a Louisiana law that doctors performing abortions must have hospital admitting privileges. Dentists and dermatologists don’t need admitting privileges. The Turnaway Study: Ten Years, a Thousand Women, and the Consequences of Having—or Being Denied —an Abortion, a new book by Diana Green Foster, compares women who had an abortion after an unintended pregnancy with women who were denied an abortion because they missed the deadline. There were large differences in economic well-being and domestic violence over time between the two groups. Foster states, “There’s more at stake than just women’s bodily autonomy. Abortion is about a woman’s chance of having a good life and the well-being of her future children.”

—Jane Elkin,  Member, Health Policy Task Force

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