What is essential healthcare and who is providing it during COVID-19?

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Medical Director says pregnancy resource centers vital during the coronavirus outbreak

By Natasha Smith

Currently, there is a debate across our country on what is essential healthcare during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The Trump Administration and state officials have asked that all non-essential surgeries be halted to ensure those caring for coronavirus patients have the medical supplies they need. 

Abortion procedures are being put on hold across the nation, and many abortion clinics are shutting down. Pregnancy resource centers (PRCs), on the other hand, continue to operate at various capacities across the nation.

Media outlets, like Rewire.News, have criticized this move by PRCs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has also taken a stance. They published a statement on March 18th, stating that “Abortion is an essential component of comprehensive health care.”

But others disagree. 

World Magazine highlights the reality of extreme financial stress for many individuals across America, and how pregnancy resource centers are helping during this time. 

Many PRCs offer free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and other essential resources and supplies both for those facing unexpected pregnancies and for those with young children. They continue to provide for those who need formula, diapers, wipes and other resources difficult to access during the COVID-19 crisis.

To get a medical perspective on this debate, Save the Storks interviewed Dr. Karysse Trandem, an OB/GYN Physician and Medical Director for the Pregnancy Centers of Southwest Florida to .

How do you respond to criticism against pregnancy centers staying open during Covid-19?

This is one of the most important times for pregnancy resource clinics to stay open and active in our country. Women are especially feeling the crisis of COVID-19 and the crisis of an unplanned pregnancy. They need council for how they will move forward in this pregnancy.

Does coronavirus put women facing unplanned pregnancies under more risk? 

Absolutely. I’ve seen it at my clinic. Women will say, “I didn’t plan this pregnancy and now I feel so stressed out because I don’t want my baby to get coronavirus and I don’t have a job. This is not the right time for me to have a baby.”

But, it’s an incredible gift to be there for these women and say, “Let’s look at all of your options and see what we can help you with. What is it that you really want?”

What is the cost for medical services at a pregnancy resource center?

At pregnancy resource centers, patients do not have to pay. [The medical services] are completely subsidized by individual donors who believe in [women] and believe in their pregnancy. Patients are often floored by that fact. A patient who goes to Planned Parenthood does have to pay for their services.

As we face this unprecedented time of national crisis, pregnancy resource centers maintain their unshakeable heart to help women. PRCs have been introducing women to hope, options, support and love ever since 1973. 

Click here to watch the full interview with Dr. Trandem. 

essential healthcare

Save the Storks supports pregnancy resource centers as they continue their critical work of providing essential healthcare. To join us as we help keep PRCs open, follow our blog and Save the Storks’ Facebook page to receive updates on the specific needs of our affiliate PRCs. 

Read more of our COVID-19 coverage here.