4 Ways COVID-19 Is Impacting Women & Women’s Health PoliciesJuly 9, 2020
We all know the importance of hand-washing and staying inside to stop the spread of the global pandemic. Meanwhile, in the United States, four women’s health problems have emerged as the country experiences the realities of living in the time of coronavirus:
- Tax breaks on menstrual products
- The rise of telemedicine for routine care of pregnant women
- The lack of access for women who seek to terminate unwanted pregnancies using medication
- Numerous states declared that abortions re not essential medical procedures, and the closure of clinics that perform abortions in 6 states
Also Read: 3 Best Telemedicine Apps You Must Use
Here are four significant ways how the coronavirus outbreak is shaping the lives of American women.
Use Pre-Tax Dollars To Pay For Period Products
Recently, legislators signed $2 trillion to aid American citizens who experienced economic loss during the coronavirus crisis. It will provide money to people who face certain income thresholds, thus giving a bit of relief to some in light of job loss, and help people who are trying to repay student loans or make contributions to retirement funds, among various other measures built for helping stimulate the economy.
One aspect of the new plan: Items such as menstrual pads, tampons, and period or menstrual cups can be paid for with pre-tax dollars. People with a health savings account (HSA) or a flexible spending account (FSA) can set aside some funds to pay for particular medical items. For the first time in history, menstruation products are a part of these items.
This is indeed a positive outcome. The relief package mentions “menstrual products,” and the wording leaves open the possible interpretation that it applies to related products, including period-specific underwear.
Also Read: Menopause: Here’s Everything You Must Know
Weiss-Wolf has been persuading for period reform for many years. While not every woman can access an HSA or FSA plan, the designation itself is a vital acknowledgment to make sure that there are feasibility and accessibility for menstrual products and that they are a medical necessity. The concept of what is necessary has been turned on its head today.
Telemedicine Visits Are Now Covered By Numerous Health Insurers, Including Prenatal Care
Since early to mid-March, various health insurers started paying for virtual visits between patients & healthcare providers, using FaceTime, Skype, and other everyday communication mediums to provide telehealth visits.
The ob-gyn department at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor has recently changed how pregnant women are seen during the coronavirus era. In order to limit potential exposures, the department has cut down one-to-one visits as well as in-person care and replaced them with virtual prenatal care.
The center even gave suggestions for blood pressure monitoring machines to buy for at-home use and provided links of certain apps to help monitor fetal heartbeat rates.
Various Other aspects of prenatal care including weight gain, can also be handled through video visits. Pregnant women are advised to check with their ob-gyns or other healthcare professionals.
Abortion Pills Restriction Remains
Normally, people who wish to terminate early-term pregnancies can consider a medication known as mifepristone. This medication can be prescribed using telemedicine, however, patients still require to go to a clinic, medical office, or hospital to get it, according to a recent report. This implies patients cannot acquire the drug at their homes, as per the United States Food and Drug Administration’s rules for the use of the drug, mentioned under its Risk Evaluation & Mitigation Strategy.
With such limitations in place, women willing to abort are forced to leave the comfort of their homes and connect with others while traveling to and from a clinic, thus risking possible COVID-19 transmission en route and at the clinic itself.
There are various other limitations as well. They exist in the 18 states that need a healthcare provider to be in the room when the medication is taken.
According to several physicians, the only solution to this problem is the telemedicine provision of medication abortion.
Banning Abortion In Multiple States
Governors & attorneys general in Ohio, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Alabama have closed abortion clinics in their states. They recently claimed it as a nonessential service, though various ongoing lawsuits have tried to block these measures.
The effort is an example of how “anti-abortion politicians, as well as activists, are shamelessly exploiting the current pandemic to push ideological agendas & further enshrine discrimination and inequity in the healthcare system.
If you made it till here, congratulations! We hope this blog helped you to get a clear picture of how the coronavirus crisis is affecting both women and women’s health policies.
Also Read: Maternity Insurance Coverage