Democratic Attorneys General Association Statement in Support of Access to Reproductive Health Care During Covid-19 Crisis

March 26, 2020

Washington, D.C. – While states across the country work to minimize the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019), the Democratic Attorneys General Association (DAGA) worked with New York AG Tish James to highlight the importance of access to reproductive health care during this crisis and show support for women and families everywhere. Today, DAGA is releasing statements from DAGA Co-Chairs Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum and Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, New York AG Tish James, Democratic AGs from across the country, and DAGA Executive Director Sean Rankin, reinforcing their commitments to protecting reproductive rights. This week, anti-abortion activists began exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic including sending a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging the Department of HHS to restrict access to safe, legal abortion during the current pandemic.

 

Statement from Sean Rankin, the Executive Director at the Democratic Attorneys General Association:

“The safety and health of patients, health care providers, and our communities is paramount. We are grateful to the people on the front lines of this epidemic who are ensuring people get the care they desperately need including access to family planning services. No one should use a public health crisis to push an ideological agenda, which is what we are now seeing. In the face of these actions, Democratic AGs will continue to work together to protect the people in their states and fight for the critical resources and essential services required. Especially in this moment, Americans are looking for leaders who are putting their needs first.”

 

Statement from Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum, Co-Chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association:

“Oregon’s Executive Order exempts abortion services from its delay of non-urgent surgical procedures. I am proud that our state is doing its part to conserve PPE for our ‘front line’ medical workers treating COVID-19 patients. At the same time, we will never budge from our guarantee of reproductive rights–including timely access to abortion services.”

 

Statement from Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, Co-Chair of the Democratic Attorneys General Association:

“Abortion is essential health care. Any politician that says otherwise is doing what they’ve always done—wielding their power to block women from accessing the health care they need. Exploiting the COVID-19 crisis for their own ideological agenda is a new low. Restrictions on abortion at this time will harm the same people who are vulnerable to COVID-19—people of color, people with low incomes, and their children.”

“To the abortion providers who are continuing to care for their patients throughout this crisis—I see you and I thank you. I will never stop fighting for you and the communities you serve.”

 

Statement from New York AG Letitia James:

“Reproductive health care is a fundamental human right and a constitutional guarantee that should never be restricted. As we deal with the pandemic resulting from the coronavirus and reduce the number of unnecessary medical procedures throughout the nation, we should remember that abortion services are necessary procedures that remain vitally important. Like so many health care and social advocacy organizations have already stated, the inability to access abortion services can have a profound impact on an individual’s well-being, their health, and their life. During this pandemic, we must do everything in our power to ensure this fundamental right is not infringed upon, which is why we urge all states to ensure that a woman’s right to obtain an abortion is guaranteed.”

 

Statement from California AG Xavier Becerra:

“No one has the right to make personal decisions for a woman about her body or her health. If access to safe and legal abortion were restricted, many women would have no option for critical abortion care. During this pandemic, especially, we must do all we can to protect public health — not strip it away.”

 

Statement from Colorado AG Phil Weiser:

“A women’s reproductive freedom and ability to access abortion services is central to equality for all.  The current public health emergency should not be used to undermine equal rights for all, women’s health care, and the protections provided by Roe v. Wade.  It is beyond disappointing that some advocacy organizations would exploit this crisis to further their own public policy outcomes.”

 

Statement from Connecticut AG William Tong:

“Reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right that cannot be cancelled during a crisis. Using this public health emergency as a partisan opportunity to control women’s bodies is shameful, unlawful and unacceptable. We need to be fully focused right now on protecting our health care workers and getting them the tools they need to save lives and provide critical care during this crisis.”

 

Statement from Delaware AG Kathy Jennings:

“I stand with Planned Parenthood, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and everyone who has stood up to oppose the opportunism of anti-abortion activists and politicians using a global pandemic to restrict abortion access.”

“Abortion is not a casual medical decision. It is a time-sensitive and often medically necessary procedure. Widespread restrictions on abortion access wouldn’t just undermine reproductive rights; they would also increase medical risk unnecessarily, threatening women’s health and increasing demands on our hospitals at a time when the medical system is anticipating unprecedented overload. Now is the time to prioritize everyone’s health and safety—not political agendas.”

 

Statement from Hawaii AG Clare Connors:

“The state of Hawaii has a long-standing commitment to protecting a woman’s right to comprehensive healthcare and to safe medical procedures. Our state’s emergency proclamation on COVID-19 recognized all healthcare facilities and services as essential. While the current situation is burdening many sectors of our society, there is no basis to infringe upon a woman’s right to safe medical services, including reproductive health care, as part of the government’s response to COVID-19.”

 

Statement from Maine AG Aaron Frey:

“At a time when the right to essential reproductive health care is under political attack, I am proud that Maine has been a leader in protecting its citizens’ access to safe and legal abortion care. The COVID-19 pandemic does not make these vital health care services any less important. I will stand with Maine’s reproductive health care providers against any attempts to curtail its citizens rights, and I urge leaders across the country to focus their attention on the work needed to get through this crisis.”

 

Statement from Michigan AG Dana Nessel:

“We won’t dictate services physicians choose to perform and we won’t interfere with the doctor/patient relationship.”

 

Statement from Minnesota AG Keith Ellison:

“One of the first worker exemptions listed in Minnesota’s Stay at Home order is for providers of reproductive health care. It’s that high up in the list because comprehensive reproductive health care is essential. I’m proud of Minnesota for recognizing that basic fact. I call on all states to do the same.”

 

Statement from Vermont AG TJ Donovan:

“Vermont has a long history of protecting women’s reproductive rights. I am committed to ensuring that those protections will continue to be in place during this crisis and beyond.”

 

Statement from Virginia AG Mark Herring:

“Republican lawmakers and anti-choice activists should not exploit this crisis to push their own agenda. The policies that lawmakers are putting in place to address this public health crisis must be driven by science not by ideology. I have long fought to ensure that women have the ability to make their own choices when it comes to their reproductive health and I will stand with my Democratic colleagues in fighting these new attacks.”

 

Statement from Washington AG Bob Ferguson:

“Exploiting a public health emergency to attack women’s access to time-sensitive, essential health care services is plain wrong.”

 

Statement from Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul:

“Decisions about what health care services are essential should be guided by medical professionals, not politicians. We must oppose attempts to use a public health emergency to restrict access to reproductive health care.”