Many women are living on the edge, living hand to mouth, or barely surviving and coronavirus shutdown is exposing their vulnerability. These articles explore 4 issue areas. 1. For abused women and children, the lockdown can cause a powderkeg of violence, because they have lost the relative safety and time away at work and school. 2.The lockdown aspect puts additional strain on existing inequalities in responsibilities of home, work and children. 3.Undocumented Immigrants Face Coronavirus, Job Loss With No Safety Net. 4. Some conservatives who believed the pandemic was a hoax focused on shutting down abortion clinics as ‘nonessential.’ How wrong they are.
1. “For Abused Women, a Pandemic Lockdown Holds Dangers of Its Own,” 3/24/20, New York Times
The coronavirus shut in situation is exacerbating domestic violence situations.
“These instances, gleaned from the hotline’s first responders, highlight two important facets of things to come in the time of coronavirus. First, as lawmakers across the country order lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus, the lives of people stuck in physically or emotionally abusive relationships have — and will — become harder, which has already been seen in the pandemic hotspots of China and Italy.”
“Second, the virus raises the stakes for domestic violence services across the country as they scramble to adapt to a patchwork of new government policies and restrictions that shift day by day and vary from state to state.”
2. “The Coronavirus Gender Gap,” 3/13/20, Ms. Magazine
“A staggering majority of nurses, flight attendants, teachers, domestic workers and service industry workers are women, dealing with the front lines of the outbreak.”
“Additionally, in the majority of homes around the world, women bear the most care-taking responsibilities, creating for many a “second shift” of providing care for children, the elderly and other family members who may be sick or simply in need of additional attention.”
“The challenge of the emergency really puts additional strain on existing inequalities,” said Laura Addati, a policy specialist in women and economic empowerment for the International Labor Organization. “If there’s not already an egalitarian sharing of child care or housework, it will be women who are responsible for remote school, for ensuring there’s food and supplies, for coping with this crisis.”
More at Ms. Magazine, “The Coronavirus Gender Gap“
3. “Undocumented Immigrants Face Coronavirus, Job Loss With No Safety Net,” 3/26/20, WGBH News
“Undocumented workers have long filled thousands of jobs in Massachusetts on construction sites, in restaurant kitchens and on cleaning crews. And like their coworkers, many have been laid off as efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus bring everyday life to a standstill. But there’s one crucial difference: Undocumented immigrants can’t access unemployment benefits.”
“Three people who call the Boston area home, but have no legal status, shared their fears with WGBH News about surviving without a paycheck and, during a worsening public health crisis, being fearful of accessing medical help.”
“One East Boston woman said she had come from El Salvador with her two children after her father was murdered. The woman, who did not want to be identified by name, recently lost her job as a cook when the restaurant she worked for closed because of the coronavirus. Her husband, brother and sister-in law lost their restaurant work as well, she said. Because they are undocumented, none of them can collect unemployment.”
4. Under pretext of coronavirus, “Clinics in Ohio and Texas ordered to stop ‘nonessential’ surgical abortions,” 3/25/20, The Guardian
“Ohio and Texas have ordered health care providers in the state to stop performing “nonessential” abortions, touching off a deeply contentious debate over reproductive rights in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.”
“Both states cited federal guidelines aimed at conserving necessary medical supplies to combat the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and argued that abortions do not qualify as essential surgeries. But advocates say the moves taken by two conservative attorneys general is about advancing a political agenda, not protecting public health.”
“Amid the moves by Ohio and Texas, a coalition of anti-abortion groups urged its allies across the nation to ask governors to ban most abortions on the grounds they were not essential.”
Abortion-rights leaders nationwide decried the tactic, saying it was an affront to women grappling with difficult decisions amid the disruptions of the pandemic.
“Abortion is time-sensitive, essential health care,” said Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, president of the National Abortion Federation. “Women deserve better than a craven exploitation of a health care crisis in furtherance of an anti-abortion agenda.”
Since then, clinics were ordered to remain open. However, an appeals court in Texas okayed shutting them down, so this case is likely to go to our Supreme Court of the US.