According to a report released by the International Planned Parenthood Federation, the recent pandemic is having a major impact on their ability to deliver “reproductive healthcare” around the world, particularly abortions.
Reporting that 5663 of their 40,000 clinics across 64 countries have been shuttered, this number represents about 14% of their members which operate primarily out of South Asia and Africa.
The cause of these clinics closing their doors has come from abortion being deemed non-essential by governmental bodies, travel to the clinics restricted, and supply chains for contraceptives and medical equipment for abortions being disrupted.
According to Elizabeth Sully of the Guttmacher Institute in a her paper, Estimates of the Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Sexual and Reproductive Health in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, that was published today, a 10% decline in women receiving contraceptives or receiving abortions would result in an additional 15,000,000 unintended pregnancies over the course of a year. Put another way, nearly fifteen million babies will be born to begrudging parents and won’t be sliced up, gassed or poisoned in the womb, nor will they be flushed away via abortifacient pills.
There are some negative consequences to these clinics being shut down. Because the majority of these pregnancies would occur in countries with limited access to health care, they also estimate that there would also be 28,000 maternal deaths and 3 million unsafe abortions.
The study ultimately gives several recommendations of how to prevent these children from being born, with the emphasis being to:
…define and promote sexual and reproductive health care—including safe abortion, contraceptive services, and maternal and newborn care—as essential. This will allow people to travel for sexual and reproductive health services—even in areas under stay-at-home orders or with travel restrictions—without fear of legal consequences.
They also recommend strengthening national supply chains for contraceptive and abortion medical supplies, reversing the Mexico City policy, making contraceptives available without a prescription in multi-month supplies, adopt “innovative models of care, such as telehealth, and prevent diversion of resources and staff away from sexual and reproductive health services,” and addressing the unique and specialized needs of vulnerable populations.
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