During a recent online town hall, presidential nominee Joe Biden stated his belief that abortion is an “essential health care service” for women during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need to ensure that women have access to all health service during this crisis,” Biden said during the broadcast. “Abortion is an essential health care service.”
He went on to say, “(Abortion) is being used as a political wedge right now. And it shouldn’t be. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association agree that it shouldn’t be categorized as a procedure that can be delayed. It can’t. And in this case, health care delayed means health care denied. States should not be using a public health crisis to infringe on a woman’s constitutional right.”
On Biden’s official website, his team expanded on his abortion policy: “If Biden was President today, he would put science over fiction and ensure states treat abortion as the essential health service it is. This builds on his existing women’s health care agenda. His Justice Department will stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate Roe v. Wade. And, he will work to codify Roe, repeal the Hyde Amendment, restore federal funding for Planned Parenthood, including through Medicaid and Title X, and restore access to contraception coverage.”
There are just a couple of problems with those policy proposals.
At this point, states that are attempting to ban abortion during the coronavirus pandemic are not “violating Roe v. Wade.” This event is unprecedented in modern history, and states have the right to try and conserve medical supplies wherever possible in an emergency, including at abortion clinics where elective procedures are performed every day. Abortion is not an essential part of women’s health care, after all. Unless there is a coronavirus clause hidden within Roe, states have the right to mandate as they wish until the Supreme Court of the United States rules otherwise.
The Hyde Amendment is an important piece of legislation that prevents taxpayers from funding elective abortions, except if the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. It should not be repealed. If a woman decides to have an abortion, pro-life taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the abortion of preborn infants.
There is no reason to restore federal funding to Planned Parenthood. Due to changes in Title X regulations under the current administration, Planned Parenthood lost about $60 million in federal funding. It might seem like a lot, but that’s just a tenth of the $500-600 million the organization gets in federal funding every year, plus the $500-600 million or so it gets every year in personal donations. The organization is not hurting for cash, and it also is still receiving Medicaid money for many procedures but not abortion.
When it comes to abortion policy and the coronavirus pandemic, there is a lot of confusion. But abortion is not “essential health care.”