By Darcey Lindsay-Smith
The health of the population is rightly at the epicentre of current political decisions, world-wide. However, Human rights can often be forgotten or abused when an international crisis occurs.
This is exactly what has happened with regards to abortion rights in America. A number of states in America (Republican dominated), including Oklahoma, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas have decided to ban abortion procedures, arguing it is not ‘essential’ medical care. Planned Parenthood, a non-profit health care organisation in America have swiftly filed lawsuits to block this decision. Although successful in most of these states, the law in Texas remains unchanged. The ban on abortion, ordered by Republican Governor Greg Abott is currently still in place, and expected to be in effect until April 21 2020.
Abortion, however, is essential. Abortion is vital and time sensitive. Planned Parenthood, and organizations alike believe the pandemic is being used as a cover to push a political agenda which will prohibit abortion entirely. The governing state bodies claim that by doing this, they are reserving valuable resources. In fact, they are enabling more people to contract the virus. Women are crossing state borders to ensure they can receive the right medical care, something they should not have to do. This law will most heavily impact low income women, who are those that lack the resources to travel.
Women do not become devoid of their need for reproductive or sexual health care. In fact, it is proven that in times of crisis, domestic violence increases, highlighting the importance of its availability, especially at this current time. There is nothing dispensable about women’s reproductive rights, and “there’s nothing ‘pro-life’ about exploiting a pandemic to further a political agenda” (Mahdawi, 2020).