A prominent Australian-based abortion provider has reportedly been denied an order of face masks because the masks were said to be reserved for "health professionals."
Marie Stopes Australia spoke with Gina Rushton of BuzzFeed News earlier this week, claiming that they have been denied supplies including face masks and hand sanitizer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s National Medical Stockpile told them last week that they could not provide them with medical supplies, as they were being reserved for entities like public hospitals and pharmacies.
Additionally, earlier this week the company Clifford Hallam Healthcare canceled an order for face masks for MSA, reportedly due to a request from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
“We have been requested to reserve our supplies for health professionals as they are the first priority,” read the CHH email to MSA, as reported by BuzzFeed. “We have had no option other to cancel your back orders for all masks.”
According to Jamal Hakim of MSA, the entity only has about two weeks of supplies remaining for performing surgical abortions.
“Many [personal protective equipment] suppliers do not consider abortion to be healthcare,” Hakim told BuzzFeed. “Over the past month, private suppliers have either refused to take orders or cancelled orders from MSA.”
An entry on MSA’s website, accessed Wednesday, noted that due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus, they were restricting their contraception and vasectomy services.
They also stated that abortions were “an essential service” and promised to “continue to provide abortion services throughout this pandemic.”
Micaiah Bilger of the pro-life website Life News celebrated the news, arguing that this was “how it should be” given that other medical and surgical services were being delayed due to COVID-19.
“All over the world, cancer treatments, stents to prevent clogged arteries, dental work and joint replacements are being postponed because of the health crisis,” wrote Bilger.
“But the abortion industry thinks it is special. It wants its work killing unborn babies elevated above real health care.”
As governments issue orders restricting mass gatherings and nonessential services, debates over to what extent abortion procedures should be allowed have been a source of controversy.
In the United Kingdom, the Department of Health and Social Care temporarily changed regulations to allow women in England to undergo medical abortions in their homes. The new regulation permits a woman seeking an abortion before the 10th week of a pregnancy to take abortion-inducing pills mifepristone and misoprostol at home during the lockdown.
The Christian Legal Centre, an evangelical conservative legal organization, accused the U.K. government of creating “the most significant change to abortion law since 1967.”
Centre CEO Andrea Williams stated that she believed the government was “pushing through a back-door policy that will put thousands of women at risk” in a “time of national and global crisis.”
In the United States, several states have called for a temporary halt to elective abortions to preserve personal protective equipment for healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Judges blocked the bans in Alabama, Ohio, and Texas. The block in Texas was recently lifted by an appeals court.