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March 24, 2020 / Press Releases

NARAL Pro-Choice America Releases Statement on Anti-Choice Organizations Seizing COVID-19 Crisis to Push Ideological Agenda


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, March 21, 2020

CONTACT: media@prochoiceamerica.org 

Kristan Hawkins, president of the anti-choice group Students for Life, tweeted on Tuesday that she participated in a call related to the COVID-19 pandemic with Vice President Mike Pence (who notoriously botched his handling of Indiana’s HIV crisis as the state’s governor). Meanwhile, representatives of more than four dozen anti-choice groups penned a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar pushing disinformation about abortion to demand the agency force providers to cease providing abortion care and take other steps to undermine reproductive freedom during this global pandemic.

Statement from NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue:

“The radical right has been working for decades to end the legal right to abortion—no matter the cost—and now they are using COVID-19 to achieve that goal, drawing crucial resources away from a national pandemic to move their own ideological agenda forward.

“As we face this national emergency, we must centralize sound science and medical experts in guiding decision making and not allow the individuals driven by ideology to craft policy to meet their beliefs over public welfare. 

“The medical community is clear and unified: Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential healthcare. They should be allowed to continue their work based on medicine and not arbitrary policy. The health and well-being of all Americans are at risk. Allowing ideology to trump science in this moment imperils everyone and sets a terrifying precedent as we face this national crisis.”

BACKGROUND:

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and seven other expert medical organizations say abortion care is “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.”
  • Amid a global pandemic, anti-choice activists have been aggressively pushing disinformation that abortion is “never medically necessary.”
    • These claims lean on dangerous medical disinformation, which can cause direct harm to people seeking abortion care and help bolster anti-choice actions at the state and federal level.
  • The anti-choice movement, in coordination with Republican lawmakers, have long employed an intentional campaign to weaponize and spread disinformation about abortion in order to attack reproductive freedom and distract from their hugely unpopular agenda of banning abortion.
  • Much of the disinformation spread by anti-choice groups is outrageous fabrication designed to confuse and mislead voters and deflect attention away from anti-choice politicians’ efforts to criminalize abortion and punish women during a time of national and global crisis.

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NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all. For more than 50 years, NARAL has worked to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. Since 1969, NARAL has made history, grown to over 2.5 million members, and met the moments that have defined this fight with action, power and freedom. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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