Rep. Fleming on rising risk of unintended pregnancies during COVID-19 pandemic
INDIANAPOLIS - State Rep. Rita Fleming (D-Jeffersonville) today released the following statement regarding the negative consequences of a rise in unintended pregnancies during the COVID-19 pandemic:
“History shows us that there is usually an uptick in unintended pregnancies during times of crisis. Pandemics, depressions and even extended blackouts have resulted in baby booms. The length of time that folks will be in quarantine for COVID-19 makes Hoosiers at risk of worsening this reality.
“As an obstetrician for more than 30 years, I know that expecting mothers have compromised immune and respiratory systems. Although we have little information on the consequences that COVID-19 has on pregnancy, we do know that pregnant women have a weakened guard against this virus. For those with unintended pregnancies, the health and economic risks are even greater, as those pregnancies often lead to birth defects, result in prematurity and are the leading cause of infant mortality.
“As a state legislator, I have repeatedly proposed legislation that would have made birth control more accessible during this time. House Bill 1141 would have allowed for pharmacists to prescribe and dispense self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives and patches. It would have also required health plans to provide coverage for contraceptives, with an exemption for nonprofit religious employers. Unfortunately, my proposals have not made it through the process yet.
“Especially during this time, I want women to know their options. Fortunately, right now, instead of seeing a healthcare provider in person, women are able to receive a birth control prescription over the phone. If they don’t have a health care provider, there are several options available online. I implore women to do their research to protect themselves if pregnancy is not in their immediate plans.
“This pandemic will take a number of lives, but it will also lead to a number of new ones. Let's make sure that those pregnancies are safe and intentional.”