Yesterday, the National Abortion Federation joined 20 other women’s and civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief explaining the undue burden that Alabama’s COVID-19 Executive Order poses to abortion providers and already marginalized communities.

Anti-abortion politicians in Alabama are exploiting the current global pandemic to try and deny women access to the abortion care they need. It is not surprising given the state’s hostile history toward abortion rights, but it is utterly shameful just the same.

Under the guise of a general restriction on non-emergency medical services, the state sought to ban abortion even though it is a time-sensitive, essential service. The brief states: “the State’s Order—and its threat of criminal prosecution for health care providers who do not comply with its vague directives—would give state officials enforcement discretion that could be used, as such discretion has been used historically, to target abortion providers. Providers would be forced to choose between serving their patients and risking bad-faith criminal prosecution.” The Order has already hindered the availability of abortion for Alabama women during this pandemic.

Statement from The Very Reverend Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation:

No health care provider should be forced to go to court to ensure their patients access to the health care they need, yet Alabama’s anti-choice politicians repeatedly place providers in that position.

Abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care. An abortion delayed is often an abortion denied. It is unacceptable to deny people access to health care at any point in time but it is unconscionable to use a pandemic as an excuse to do so.

Read the full amicus brief here.

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The National Abortion Federation (NAF) is the professional association of abortion providers. Our members include individuals, private and non-profit clinics, Planned Parenthood affiliates, women’s health centers, physicians’ offices, and hospitals who together care for approximately half the women who choose abortion in the U.S. and Canada each year. Our members also include public hospitals and both public and private clinics in Mexico City and private clinics in Colombia. NAF unites, represents, serves, and supports abortion providers in delivering patient-centered, evidence-based care.

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