Anti-abortion Extremists Exploit COVID-19, Harass Women & Endanger Lives

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It’s hard to miss: social media posts, newspaper articles, TV news segments, emails, text messages, billboards… all directing residents to stay at home unless essential services are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19. So why are anti-abortion extremists in New Mexico (and nationally) still gathering in front of medical facilities to harass women who are seeking reproductive care? 

Extremists like Right to Life New Mexico, 40 Days for Life New Mexico, the Sidewalk Advocates for Life and Abortion Free New Mexico mock the severity of the COVID-19 global pandemic with their actions which, ironically, endanger their own lives and the lives of their members, in addition to clinic patients.

Amid this global pandemic, these groups are seen gathering to harass women who are seeking abortion and other forms of reproductive healthcare at local clinics. 

To the detriment of their members, these extremist groups are deliberately misleading their followers, spreading dangerously false information that “we’re close to a cure” for COVID-19 (See graphic below), endangering the lives of their members, the families that live with them and the public they subsequently interact with. The apparent “right to life” groups seem to have a blatant disregard for the living. 

It’s no surprise that extremist marching orders seem to be coming from Donald Trump, who, despite his own advisors warning the public about the severity of the pandemic, continues a drumbeat that underplays the severity of the outbreak here in the United States. 

But anti-abortion groups are no stranger to blocking access to healthcare, no matter the cost to human lives. Alongside a history of violence and bombings at abortion clinics, the exploitation of COVID-19 is one of the many disgusting and opportunistic actions this “movement” has engaged in- from the national level, all the way down to our neighborhoods. 

In case you missed it, here are some more recent examples:

  • At the national level, anti-abortion lawmakers snuck dangerous anti-abortion language into the coronavirus bill.
  • In several states across the U.S. anti-abortion lawmakers have deemed abortion as non-essential, endangering the lives of women across their state who are seeking medical care. (Some cases have been overturned. Texas’, although initially overturned, has been put back into place.)
  • Here in New Mexico, anti-abortion groups are attempting to lobby legislators via email, asking that personal protective equipment (PPE) be stripped from clinics that provide abortion- suggesting that women and doctors who perform or receive an abortion do not deserve to be protected from the coronavirus. 

People are dying from this virus, families are losing jobs, and the healthcare system is reaching capacity. Anti-abortion extremists need to wake up. Taking advantage of a global pandemic to harass women, endanger their lives and push legislators to make unethical demands of our healthcare system, once again reiterates that the anti-abortion movement is not about morals or religion, it’s about power and control. 

Here in New Mexico, we’re grateful that abortion is not only safe and legal in our state, but that it’s also considered an essential service during COVID-19.