While the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, right-wing media and abortion opponents have used the crisis to attack abortion access, advocates, and providers.
Even in the early stages of coronavirus’ spread in the United States, safe access to abortion has already been impacted by anti-abortion policies at the federal and state level. For example, while the federal government pushes the adoption of telemedicine for other medical services that can be accessed remotely, the Food and Drug Administration told Vice News that the same flexibility “will not apply to medication abortion care.” As Yellowhammer Fund Communications Director Robin Marty noted on Twitter:
In addition to these challenges, abortion providers, who may need to “fly to multiple locations to see patients” in rural areas, will become unable to provide care if they get sick. As the Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, president of the National Abortion Federation, told HuffPost, “One or two people unable to show up can make the difference between a clinic being able to function or not.”
With that reality in mind, here’s how right-wing media and abortion opponents have exploited this crisis to attack abortion access, advocates, and providers:
I will say, though, that our nation’s response to this pandemic has shredded the Left’s favorite mantra, “My Body! My Choice!” These same activists overwhelmingly support the government’s total control over what we do and where we go with our bodies as they insist these measures are necessary to save other human lives. Well, Amen! Who would’ve thought the deception of bodily autonomy would be exposed by a virus?
Imagine, for a moment, if the Church took a coronavirus approach to protecting the most vulnerable from the completely avoidable pandemic of abortion that kills over 40,000,000 truly defenseless human beings every year around the world -- human beings who are sheltered in what should be the safest place on earth. That's over 80x the median estimate of annual deaths -- 500,000 -- from all strains of flu worldwide. Another way to see this devastation...there are an estimated 110,000+ cases of lives needlessly destroyed by the plague of abortion every...single...day. Imagine if the government felt what Martin Luther King Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now” to end the spread of violence against those completely powerless to stop it.
- Thomas D. Williams, Breitbart’s Rome bureau chief, twice tweeted out a list of the “causes of global deaths so far in 2020” with “abortion” listed as a cause:
- This narrative even made its way to The Washington Post, in a story about a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, pastor who refuses to close his church during the coronavirus crisis. “There is a real virus, but we’re not closing Planned Parenthood, where babies are being murdered,” he told the Post. “If they close those doors today, we’d save more lives than will be taken by the coronavirus.”
- Lila Rose, the founder and president of the anti-abortion organization Live Action, has been particularly fixated on the fact that abortion clinics remain open during this public health crisis -- deliberately ignoring the fact that those clinics provide essential health care services:
- Anti-abortion media outlet Church Militant published a story with the headline “Abortion: Nation’s Deadliest Killer” and attacked NPR for writing articles about the coronavirus instead of about abortion:
Liberal mainstream media giant National Public Radio (NPR) has produced a special series called “The Coronovirus Crisis.” At this point, coronavirus has killed 69 Americans. For perspective, that's approximately the number of Americans killed every 30 minutes through abortion.
But it is the coronavirus currently holding the attention of the world. It is a virus to which humans have no immunity, is highly contagious and can kill the vulnerable elderly as well as those with pre-existing conditions. Most medical experts say it is presently 10 times more lethal than influenza in those who contract it, a rate margin of around 1.0 to .01. Yet there is still a low risk of becoming seriously ill, according to the CDC.
Abortion, on the other hand, is a radically different evil from the coronavirus, in kind and in number.
- A headline from The Western Journal:
- Anti-abortion organization March for Life:
- Dylan Wheeler, a major proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory:
Attacking pro-choice organizations:
Live Action News wrote that a Bustle article about how Planned Parenthood is preparing to continue providing care during the coronavirus crisis showed that the organization was “rushing to exploit the situation” and “attempting to position itself as a legitimate health care provider once again.” Furthermore, the anti-choice outlet theorized that “the goal” of Bustle’s article “seemed to be to equate the abortion corporation with legitimate health care providers.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of the anti-abortion organization Students for Life of America, wrote, “Only the world’s largest abortion vendor would use a worldwide pandemic to try to justify why taxpayers should fund their evil work” after the Planned Parenthood Action Fund account tweeted about the dangers of President Donald Trump’s administration stripping family planning funding from organizations like Planned Parenthood.
- Media Research Center inexplicably invested effort in a time count (which was later updated with more appearances) about how often former Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen appeared on CNN to discuss her medical opinion of coronavirus without being identified by her previous position. Live Action’s Communications Manager Lauren Enriquez also disavowed Wen’s credentials as a medical expert due to her time with Planned Parenthood:
- Anti-abortion outlet LifeNews.com tweeted a series of nonsensical attacks on Planned Parenthood:
- LifeNews.com also wrote an article attacking the pro-choice National Abortion Federation for an email about its goal of providing continued access to abortion care during the coronavirus crisis:
Abortion activists are panicking because the world is focusing on providing real medical care to people suffering from the coronavirus, not abortions.
Legal Insurrection blogger Mary Chastain noticed a National Abortion Federation email this week pressuring the medical community to continue providing elective abortions amid the health crisis.
Though hospitals and doctors offices are worried about having enough staff, resources and beds for people suffering from the virus, abortion activists are urging them to use those precious resources to end lives through abortion.
- Janet Morana, executive director of the anti-abortion group Priests for Life, tweeted a bizarre theory that a movie underperforming at the box office while many theaters are closed was evidence of public opinion being against abortion access:
Attacking abortion providers:
- Media Research Center attacked abortion providers advocating for medication abortion to be accessible via telemedicine:
Amid mass panic over the seemingly inevitable coronavirus outbreak sweeping the country, some in the abortion industry are using the widespread alarm to tout the importance of…abortion.
Why? Well, that’s unclear, given that abortion has nothing at all to do with the coronavirus. Even still, several abortionists and abortion advocates have taken to Twitter to stump for the public’s “right” to access abortion pills via telemedicine.
- Students for Life of America wrote a blog post about abortion provider Dr. Daniel Grossman, calling him “chief spokesman for the abortion industry” and claiming he was using the coronavirus crisis to promote keeping “RU-486 chemical abortion drugs freely available on the Internet and without much regulation.”
- Abortion opponents also tweeted at Grossman for talking about telemedicine abortions:
- Anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life alleged that “by remaining open during the outbreak and exploiting the crisis to push more abortions, abortionists are working hand in hand with Coronavirus to end human lives.”
- Several right-wing media figures and abortion opponents tweeted at a provider, attacking them for advocating for abortion via telemedicine:
Anti-abortion organization American Life League sent an email claiming, “It’s time to quarantine Abortion Joe Biden”:
After the Democratic presidential primary debate on March 15, Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich tweeted:
Following a false claim that Democrats were pushing for abortion funding in the coronavius spending bill, right-wing media and abortion opponents attacked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats for being “extreme” on abortion. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said on his program, “As the nation is fighting a pandemic, [House Democrats are] worried about abortion. This virus does not kill children -- they wanted to fix that.” One America News Network’s Liz Wheeler wrote, “Nancy Pelosi is trying to secure taxpayer funded abortions as part of the COVID-19 stimulus. Don't try to tell me Democrats aren't politicizing this.” Students for Life of America claimed, “Democrats in Congress are putting the lives of people below their desire to please their Planned Parenthood donors.” The Daily Caller’s Logan Hall tweeted:
Even as the coronavirus outbreak continues to unfold, right-wing media and abortion opponents will continue to exploit the crisis to push their 2020 playbook to paint Democrats and abortion rights advocates as “extreme” on abortion.