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The legal and medical necessity of abortion care amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donley G, Chen BA, Borrero S. The legal and medical necessity of abortion care amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of law and the biosciences. 2020 Apr 29; 7(1):lsaa013.


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, states have ordered the cessation of non-essential healthcare. Unfortunately, many conservative states have sought to capitalize on those orders to halt abortion care. In this short paper, we argue that abortion should not fall under any state's non-essential healthcare order. Major medical organizations recognize that abortion is essential healthcare that must be provided even in a pandemic, and the law recognizes abortion as a time-sensitive constitutional right. Finally, we examine the constitutional arguments as to why enforcing these orders against abortion providers should not stand constitutional scrutiny. We conclude that no public health purpose can be served by this application because abortion uses less scarce resources and involves fewer contacts with healthcare professionals than prenatal care and delivery assistance, which is continuing to be provided in this public health emergency.

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