NARAL Pro-Choice America Responds to Tennessee Governor Exploiting COVID-19 Crisis to Push Anti-Choice Agenda - Reproductive Freedom for All

Formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America

Press Release

NARAL Pro-Choice America Responds to Tennessee Governor Exploiting COVID-19 Crisis to Push Anti-Choice Agenda

For Immediate Release: March 26, 2020

Contact: [email protected] 

Yesterday, Tennessee joined a growing list of states moving to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to push an anti-choice agenda. Governor Bill Lee’s order halting all “non-essential procedures” in the state was shortly followed by a statement from his spokesperson citing the Governor’s personal beliefs to make clear his expectation that abortion care not be provided during the crisis. Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, said:

“The radical right has been working for decades to end the legal right to abortion—no matter the cost—and now they are using COVID-19 to achieve that goal, drawing crucial resources away from a national pandemic to move their own ideological agenda forward.

“As we face this national emergency, we must centralize sound science and medical experts in guiding decision making and not allow the individuals driven by ideology to craft policy to meet their beliefs over public welfare. 

“The medical community is clear and unified: Abortion care is time-sensitive and essential healthcare. They should be allowed to continue their work based on medicine and not arbitrary policy. The health and well-being of all Americans are at risk. Allowing ideology to trump science in this moment imperils everyone and sets a terrifying precedent as we face this national crisis.”

Earlier this month, anti-choice Republicans in Tennessee introduced a sweeping bill (SB 2196) that includes an exhaustive list of provisions meant to chip away at and ultimately end the right to abortion, including:

  • A forced ultrasound mandate; 
  • A provision allowing for political interference in deeply personal family decisions; 
  • Cascading bans on abortion at almost every stage of pregnancy, including before many women even know they’re pregnant.  

The anti-choice politicians who introduced the bill specifically said their goal was to give the state “multiple shots” at ending Roe v. Wade. Politicians dead-set on ending the legal right to abortion are taking advantage of the pandemic to achieve their ideological agenda, both nationally and in Tennessee and other states.


NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters are dedicated to protecting and expanding reproductive freedom for all. For more than 50 years, NARAL has worked to guarantee that every woman has the right to make personal decisions regarding the full range of reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing legal abortion. Since 1969, NARAL has made history, grown to over 2.5 million members, and met the moments that have defined this fight with action, power and freedom. In recognition of its work defending our constitutional right to choose, Fortune Magazine described NARAL as “one of the top 10 advocacy groups in America.”