The Legal and Medical Necessity of Abortion Care Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

Journal of Law & the Biosciences, Forthcoming

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-14

21 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2020

See all articles by Greer Donley

Greer Donley

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Beatrice Chen

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC

Sonya Borrero

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC

Date Written: April 24, 2020

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Reproductive Rights, Abortion, Fourteenth Amendment, Constitutional Law, Health Law, Public Health Law, Pandemic Response, Civil Liberties

JEL Classification: I10, I12, I14, K19, K32, K36

Suggested Citation

Donley, Greer and Chen, Beatrice and Borrero, Sonya, The Legal and Medical Necessity of Abortion Care Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic (April 24, 2020). Journal of Law & the Biosciences, Forthcoming, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2020-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3584728

Greer Donley (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412.648.1359 (Phone)
412.648.2649 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.pitt.edu/people/greer-donley

Beatrice Chen

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA
United States
(412) 641-1000 (Phone)

Sonya Borrero

University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, UPMC ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA
United States
412-692-4841 (Phone)

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