"It's devastating, because Planned Parenthood is still open, and our mayor won't shut them down, and they've been deemed an essential service," Mathilde Mellon told CNA. "Apparently, their abortions are a critical medical procedure, and it's horrible."
Mellon also runs a mobile medical unit, but had to halt its operations as well out of concern for the safety of her staff.
Abortion providers elsewhere have either been allowed to remain open or have done so in defiance of state orders.
Planned Parenthood affiliates in New York told Buzzfeed News last week that their doors were open.
In Ohio, Planned Parenthood affiliates continued to perform surgical abortions despite the state's health department curtailing all non-essential or elective surgeries by the evening of March 18. The state's attorney general wrote Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio's Cincinnati surgery center on March 20, ordering them to "immediately stop performing non-essential or elective surgical elective abortions."
The president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, Marjorie Dannenfelser, said that Planned Parenthood is "continuing to put abortion and profits before health and safety."
On Tuesday, Dannenfelser and a coalition of pro-life leaders wrote to Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar, asking him to urge abortion providers to cease operations and donate their personal protective equipment to hospitals for staff to treat the new coronavirus.
Other states, such as Washington and Massachusetts, have allowed abortions to continue despite canceling other elective surgeries. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, meanwhile, has applied the governor's order to curtail most abortions in the state.
In New York, pro-life advocates frantically called the Respect Life Office saying that abortion clinics in the Bronx were packed with staff and clients, Sister Virginia Joy told CNA- a clear safety hazard in the very epicenter of the U.S. pandemic.
Tennessee Right to Life has been petitioning the state's governor Bill Lee to shut down abortion facilities but "have not heard back" from the office, Mellon said. Nashville's mayor John Cooper has been sympathetic to the abortion industry, she said, and "Planned Parenthood has got a stronghold here in Davidson County."
And the fact that abortion providers remain open in a climate of fear and economic uncertainty is almost certainly bad news, pro-life advocates warn.
(Story continues below)
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"We're definitely worried about that," McDonough told CNA. "I think that the economics is always the deciding factor with women considering abortion."
"There's just a lot of anxiety and fear, right now," Leatherby said, noting that the phone calls and consultations at the Sacramento Life Center "just seem to be the abortion-minded in the past two weeks."
On Monday the center had several callers hang up in the middle of the conversation. "We couldn't seem to get women to want to talk to us. They just want that abortion, and that's it, and there's nothing we can do for them," Leatherby said. "
In another case, a woman was told by her family that she was being selfish in bringing a child into the world at this time, Sister Virginia Joy said. In this case, pro-lifers need to be "getting them to be able to answer what they most want," she said. "I think when you get to the bottom of a woman's heart, what she most desires is to give life to her child."
Tennessee's abortion regulations-an "informed consent" provision and a mandatory 48-hour waiting period before having abortions-are still in effect, Mellon said, perhaps helping to reduce the number of abortions for women who are traveling to facilities in the state.
With the new coronavirus has come mass restrictions on businesses, and layoffs of workers have begun. U.S. consumers also began "panic buying" non-perishable items including baby diapers, which affected the supplies of local pregnancy care centers.