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March 25, 2020 / Press Releases

NARAL Pro-Choice America Responds to Mississippi Governor Prioritizing Ideology Over Health of Mississippians During COVID-19 Pandemic


For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Contact: media@prochoiceamerica.org 

On Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves—an anti-choice Republican who has made no secret of his hostility towards reproductive freedom—suggested to reporters he would seek to stop abortion in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying he would “take whatever action we need to.” NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:

“Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves’ comments are just the latest evidence that anti-choice lawmakers have no qualms about prioritizing their ideology over the health, safety, and well-being of Americans—even during a pandemic— if it helps them advance their quest to end access to abortion. Now more than ever, we must turn to science and medical experts, and stand against cold-hearted political attempts to exploit a public health crisis in order to shut down access to abortion.

Medical experts have made it resoundingly clear that abortion care is time-sensitive and essential healthcare. This is certainly not the time to politicize healthcare and push false information. Too much is on the line.”

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.”

Reeves’ comments follow an order from Ohio’s attorney general on Sunday demanding abortion providers in the state stop providing all “nonessential and elective surgical abortions” in light of the public health crisis and a similar move in Texas.

Yesterday, anti-choice groups penned a letter to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 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. Meanwhile, radical right pundits and politicians are suggesting that older Americans “sacrifice” their lives to the pandemic in order to keep the economy operating at full capacity, despite the grave public health and ethical consequences of not following medical expertise and guidance about social distancing to combat the spread of a highly infectious virus.

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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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