Learning How to Advocate in Times of Crisis

Author: Sheena Kwon, Greenhill School '21

The novel coronavirus outbreak has forced millions of people across the world and in the United States into quarantine. Many can afford the luxury of staying home with plenty of supplies stocked up in their pantries and freezers. However, others continue to suffer through the hardships of going without stable pay. In such a difficult time, thousands of students have been forced to stay home and attend online school.

Although this is a difficult time for many, I would encourage everyone to help in whatever way they can. The best way to do this may be by simply staying home and not overstocking on supplies that many people struggle to get. Some people may have the luxury to be able to not worry about financials during this pandemic but others do not, which is why I would encourage everyone to be mindful of the actions you take during this time.

I would also like to raise attention to a problem arising during this crisis that has restricted the fundamental rights of many. Texas has effectively banned abortions by citing the coronavirus as justification. Governor Greg Abbott has barred any procedures not "immediately medically necessary," which has since been applied to abortion procedures as well. Many other Southern states have made similar moves.

This goes to show the political motivations behind banning abortion, under the guise of national emergency justifications. Abortion procedures do not typically take place at hospitals; in fact, the Guttmacher Institute states that 3% of all abortions in 2017 were conducted in hospitals. Abortions do not require depleting the already dwindling supply of N35 supply masks nor "extensive personal protective equipment." There is no real benefit to banning all abortions and doesn't resolve any shortages.

Governor Abbott's strategic move to ban abortions is nothing more than an ideologically and politically motivated push to further restrict abortion laws within the state. So what can you do to stop this?

Although a lower court tried to stop the order, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this in a startlingly swift manner. This means that organizations such as Planned Parenthood and individuals like you must do whatever you can to spread this information and prevent loss of access to abortion care. You can donate to Planned Parenthood, who is suing Governor Abbott here. You can also post on social media and garner attention because overlooking this means we continue to lose more and more rights. It's a matter of understanding that trying to play politics during a time of crisis is simply wrong and we should demand local and state governments to reverse this decision.

I hope everyone is safe and well and that this information doesn't go unseen.

Image from The New York Times