Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, eleven Planned Parenthood locations in California have been forced to shut their doors. So far this appears to be temporary, as the abortion provider’s website states they’re closed “until further notice.” According to Californians for Life, it’s possible that this situation could last until the end of April.
California is not the only state making moves to suspend abortion services as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to be a threat, as Ohio, Texas, Maryland, Louisiana, and Mississippi have done so as well. Efforts have been undertaken to slow the spread of the virus, such as prohibiting people from gathering in large groups, and in the meantime, the healthcare sector faces supply shortages and fears that the emergency room will be flooded with COVID-19 patients.
The abortion bans showcase states’ efforts to preserve personal protective equipment (PPE) and prevent infections by suspending non-essential medical procedures. But this has not stopped some abortionists from violating state orders to conduct abortions, at times ignoring social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. The situation has prompted a debate regarding the “essential” nature of abortion services.
According to 30,000 physicians in the United States, “continuing to perform elective abortions during a pandemic is medically irresponsible,” and, “elective abortion is neither ‘essential’ nor ‘urgent,’ but it does consume critical resources such as masks, gloves, and other personal protective equipment, and unnecessarily exposes patients and physicians to pathogens.”
Despite the temporary closure of eleven Planned Parenthood facilities, over 90 of their abortion centers remain open.