National Abortion Federation (NAF) Statement on Abortion Provision During COVID-19 Pandemic
As states and municipalities enact measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, more non-essential businesses will be instructed—or required—to close. At the same time, hospitals are preparing for a surge in COVID-19 cases and increased strain on their staff, resources, and systems, and will likely begin indefinitely postponing non-essential or elective procedures. During this public health crisis, pregnancy care, including abortion care, remains an essential health service. The National Abortion Federation (NAF) calls on leaders to ensure that outpatient abortion clinics can remain open and urges hospitals to continue to provide abortion care.
Abortion care is a time-sensitive service that cannot be significantly deferred without profound consequences for women and their families. Abortion is provided for almost one in five pregnancies in the United States, as part of the continuum of pregnancy care. It is an essential health service. An individual and family decide to end a pregnancy for a complex constellation of reasons that include the impact of pregnancy and birth on their health, ability to work, and strained economic circumstances. These are conditions that do not go away—and are likely heightened—in pandemic conditions. Denying or deferring abortion care places an immediate burden on patients, their families, and the health system, and can have profound and lasting consequences. Patients presenting for time-sensitive care, including abortion care, need timely access to treatment, even during this pandemic.
As we navigate COVID-19, it is critical that leaders treat outpatient abortion providers as essential businesses, and that hospital systems ensure the continuation of abortion care as an essential service.
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.