Access to a plethora of services has become more difficult amidst the pandemic, including access to abortions, a procedure which is already hard to find in certain communities. Alternative news source Willamette Weekrecently had an interview with a local reproductive health advocate as part of their “Distant Voices” project to check in on the state of reproductive health care during the global pandemic.
Katherine McGuiness is the hotline lead for the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, an organization that helps women in need of reproductive health care and advice. Abortions in particular has been a point of complication for women seeking help, as COVID-19 has laid many people off of their jobs, leaving them with a lack of funds, and has also made people wary of traveling for the operation. In addition, some states have even used coronavirus to restrict abortion — for example, according to McGuiness, Alaska has been trying to ban abortion amidst the pandemic, citing that it’s not an essential health service.
McGuiness reports that since the start of the pandemic, the hotline service has experienced a decline in callers, despite the fact that Oregon abortion clinics are still up and running. This raises the concern of a spike in women seeking reproductive health care after the pandemic is over, and also means that many women are not getting the help they may need.
In response to this, the Northwest Abortion Access Fund is trying to get the word out that though we are in a pandemic, abortion is still legal and can be accessed.