Reproductive Self-Care During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Some thoughts about coping.
By the time you read this, you’ll be all too aware that there’s a global pandemic going on. In fact, the member of the social media team writing this blog post lives in one of the cities where people have been told to stay at home except for essential activities. We’ve received plenty of guidance about how to deal with staying fed (food stores are open and delivery services are doing a booming business), staying clothed (laundromats are open, just keep at least 6 feet away from other patrons, but if you’re not leaving the house you’re probably going to do a lot less laundry anyhow), and staying sane (every musician doing a live-streamed performance is a hero).
But what does that mean for birth control and abortion?
For one thing, being stuck at home means a lot of people are going to be having a lot of sex. Pharmacies are essential businesses, which means they aren’t being asked to close. If you can get to one, keep getting your birth control prescription filled, and stock up on condoms. If that’s not an option, buy what you need online. (Remember, you can also buy emergency contraception online if you have to. It’s never a bad idea to have some on hand, just in case.)
And whenever there’s a lot of sex, a lot of unwanted pregnancies inevitably follow. Eight leading medical organizations that deal with reproductive health care have released a statement urging healthcare systems to work to keep abortion care available even as they divert resources to caring for COVID-19 patients. It’s not reasonable to ask people to postpone their abortions until the crisis passes – especially since some experts say it could take months! But unsurprisingly, anti-abortion officials in at least two states are willing to stoop to using a global health crisis as an excuse to restrict abortion access by calling it a non-essential procedure that doctors must cancel to preserve medical resources for COVID-19 patients. As of this writing, almost all abortions are on hold in Texas until April 21 at the earliest, while Ohio clinics are defying the state and saying that they will continue to function because abortion is an essential procedure.
If you do have a clinic appointment scheduled, remember that you’re going to a healthcare facility that needs to protect both its patients and their staff from COVID-19. Expect to be asked to take appropriate precautions – anything from asking your companion to wait for you outside the clinic to rescheduling your appointment if you have a cough or fever. Assume these precautions will apply whether you’re having the abortion there or just picking up abortion pills to take at home.
If you can’t or don’t want to leave the house right now, self-managed abortion is another option. For someone who has abortion pills and the information they need to use them properly, a medication abortion is as safe now as at any other time – which is to say, very low risk.
Get accurate, up-to-date information about abortion with pills (and lots more!) without ever stepping outdoors by visiting AbortionPillInfo.org and downloading the Euki reproductive health app, now available for both iOS or Android.