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US Anti-abortion groups seek halt to abortions during coronavirus pandemic

07:40  26 march  2020
07:40  26 march  2020 Source:   nbcnews.com

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More than 50 anti - abortion groups have sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling on public health officials to urge abortion providers to cease operations during the coronavirus outbreak. In the letter on Tuesday, the anti - abortion groups said a halt in abortions

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More than 50 anti-abortion groups have sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling on public health officials to urge abortion providers to cease operations during the coronavirus outbreak.

a couple of people that are standing in the snow: Image: Anti-abortion rights demonstrators outside the Supreme Court © Jacquelyn Martin Image: Anti-abortion rights demonstrators outside the Supreme Court

In the letter Tuesday, the anti-abortion groups said a halt in abortions would free up needed medical equipment for the coronavirus response. The coalition also asked public health officials to ensure that emergency response funds are not given to abortion providers and that telemedicine abortion is not expanded during the outbreak.

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The letter was signed by leaders from more than 50 anti-abortion groups, including Susan B. Anthony List, National Right to Life and the Family Research Council, among others.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of Susan B. Anthony List, said Azar has been a strong supporter of President Donald Trump's anti-abortion policies.

"We urge abortion centers to put health and safety first ... and free up desperately needed medical resources for use in fighting the spread of coronavirus," Dannenfelser said.

The letter comes just days after Ohio and Texas ordered clinics to stop abortion procedures amid coronavirus concerns.

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"Emergency actions during a global pandemic should advance health and safety for us all, not force people to delay much-needed care and possibly exacerbate their health situations by doing so," Miller told CBS News. "Patients cannot wait until this pandemic is over to receive safe abortion care."

Representatives from the Group of Seven met Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus pandemic , but they couldn't agree on a joint statement to release to the public afterwards. Anti - abortion groups seek halt to abortions during coronavirus pandemic .

However, Planned Parenthood isn't standing down.

On Wednesday, a group of Texas abortion providers represented by Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Lawyering Project sued Texas after the state pushed to ban abortions because of the coronavirus outbreak. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said this week in a statement that health care professionals, includ­ing abor­tion providers, must immediately pause all medically unnecessary surgeries and pro­ce­dures.

"This week our clinic staff had to cancel over 150 appointments. They listened to patients sobbing and witnessed their feelings of helplessness, sometimes even resorting to begging for the abortions they needed," said Amy Hagstrom Miller, president and CEO of Whole Woman's Health and Whole Woman's Health Alliance, which operates three clinics in Texas.

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Texas's ban on "nonessential" abortions will be lifted on April 21, but this date could change depending on the state of the coronavirus pandemic in the US. In Ohio, Yost's halt on abortions has already been met with a backlash. Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region released a statement pushing

Anti - Abortion Politicians Are Exploiting the Coronavirus Outbreak to Shutter Health Clinics. “Texas Right to Life is grateful that the loss of life during the Covid-19 outbreak will be decreased thanks to the halt in abortions ,” the group said, also calling for a ban on medication abortion .

Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement that anti-abortion activists are exploiting the pandemic to push their agenda.

"A public health emergency is not the time to play politics. The safety and health of patients, our staff and our communities must remain the highest priority as our country faces an unprecedented crisis," Johnson said. "Delays or additional barriers to care can make it more difficult or even impossible for some patients to access safe, legal abortion."

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The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other reproductive health groups issued a joint statement last week that said that abortion is a time-sensitive, essential service and that a delay in care can put a woman at risk.

"Medically unnecessary regulations that are barriers to patient care that many states have put in place over the past decade should be rescinded or relaxed, especially during this time," said Dr. Ted Anderson, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. "Forcing a patient to continue pregnancy can pose threats to the safety and health of the patient."

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