For Immediate Release: April 1, 2020
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb announced yesterday that he intends to block access to abortion care in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritizing an extreme ideological agenda over medical expertise and science. He joins at least five other Republican anti-choice governors who have exploited the public health crisis to advance their agenda to gut reproductive freedom. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said:
“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.
“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.”
The American Medical Association has criticized officials for “exploiting this moment to ban or dramatically limit women’s reproductive health care,” noting that during “this critical moment and every moment, physicians – not politicians – should be the ones deciding which procedures are urgent-emergent and need to be performed, and which ones can wait, in partnership with our patients.”
Indiana already has some of the most extreme restrictions on abortion in the United States, including interrogating women about why they’re ending a pregnancy, forcing delays before a woman can receive abortion care, and subjecting women to mandatory biased counseling. At least 70% of Indiana women live in counties with no abortion clinic.
Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the federal COVID-19 response effort, has a history of prioritizing his own extreme personal beliefs over the health, safety, and well-being of Americans. As Governor of Indiana, Pence notoriously botched his handling of the state’s HIV crisis by failing to proactively implement public health measures at the urging of medical experts.
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.”