This is the third week I’ve written to you about how we can maintain our sense of community during this coronavirus crisis, and I know it won’t be the last.  I hope that these weekly updates will give you some insight, information and maybe even a little relief from the relentless shadow of the pandemic. 

Unfortunately, some extremist governors are using this crisis to attack access to abortion care by deeming it a non-essential procedure.  On Monday, federal judges in Texas, Alabama, and Ohio blocked the brazenly political actions of governors in those states.  But the next day the Texas 5th Circuit Court of Appeals put a hold on that order, allowing Texas to proceed with its unconstitutional, cruel and dangerous executive action. NOW joins our partner organizations in condemning the Texas court’s actions and supports efforts to overturn it on appeal.  

Many women are concerned about how to manage pregnancy during this crisis.  Thankfully, following an initial decision by some private hospitals to bar partners from delivery rooms, New York State has now ordered all hospitals to allow women to have a partner in the labor and delivery room

For more on this topic, here’s a podcast from Dr. Sanjay Gupta about being pregnant during a pandemic. 

And here’s a report from Ms. Magazine about the Coronavirus Gender Gap.  From the article: 

“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.” 

We also encourage you to take advantage of the toolkits and webinars offered by our coalition partners and other sources, including: 

National NOW is also updating our own COVID-19 resources page regularly. Check-in frequently for data, additional links to webinars and talking points: 

Keeping NOW Activism Strong and United During the Coronavirus 

I also wanted to give you an update about the Board elections that were scheduled to coincide with our annual conference. As the decision has been made to postpone the June 5-7 conference, we are addressing the issue of terms that were due to expire at that time by following procedures established in our bylaws that refer to Roberts’ Rules of Order, which do allow us to extend the terms of those Board Members for the time being.  

Regarding rescheduling the conference, like many organizations we are waiting on more information from the CDC and other health guidance so that we can make the most informed decision possible that ensures the safety of our members, chapter leaders, and all conference attendees and staff.  

Finally, I wanted share something that lifted my spirits—this video from the international music charity Playing for Change, which united Ringo Starr, Robbie Robertson from The Band, and musicians from five continents.   

Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay connected.