As COVID-19 continues to rip through our country at an alarming rate, Americans United for Life stands firm in protecting human life at all stages. While some would rather look away, it is imperative for Americans to affirm that our foundational principles are not compromised in practice due to this pandemic. Americans United for Life has been hard at work from the outset of this crisis putting pen to paper on what both federal and state leaders can do to ensure a life-affirming response to this unprecedented challenge, most recently issuing Ethical First Principles in a National Crisis.

“As a recent USA Today/Arizona Republic analysis revealed,” said Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life, “we have been behind the bulk of more than 400 pro-life bills introduced in 41 states in recent years. Americans United for Life will continue to equip lawmakers with common-sense measures that ensure that Americans are better protected from life-threatening realities, including new model law addressing the ethical and legal threats to human life that have arisen against the backdrop of this pandemic. While we are working to protect all Americans from future crises, we recognize the urgent importance of calling Americans to unity at this fragile moment in the life of our great nation. Too often in times of crisis, those who are already marginalized based on their life circumstance or due to inherent characteristics like age, disability, or race find themselves tragically targeted to an even greater extent. We cannot let that continue to occur.”

Americans United for Life calls on our national and state officials to unify Americans around three common-sense responses to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic in our law and policy:

1. Encourage Government Relief to Focus on Mothers and Children
As Congress considers further relief for the benefit of Americans struggling through this time of pandemic and shutdown, Americans United for Life calls for a special relief focus on mothers and their children. If and when further individual relief funds are authorized, mothers and their children, including those still in the womb, should receive special attention, ensuring both mother and child receive direct financial assistance. Mothers and their children deserve special attention, whether a mother is caring for her teenager, her toddler, or her child in utero. We recognize that, especially in this unprecedented time in the life of our nation, the first nine months of a child’s life are among the most vulnerable and uncertain, and these special months for both mother and child mean that America has an even greater responsibility to provide life-affirming support. Every mother who might otherwise feel pressured to consider abortion should be empowered to make the choice for life, and Congressional relief can play a key role in encouraging life-affirming outcomes throughout this season of time.

2. Disavow “Quality Adjusted Life Years” as a Medical Allocation Rationale and Refuse to Deny Lifesaving Medical Care on the Basis of Eugenic Attitudes
When distributing scarce medical resources, the deciding factors must be based on the welfare of the patient and whether the patient will respond positively to treatment. As this pandemic rages, certain nations have based their allocation of scarce medical resources, such as ventilators, on how many “quality adjusted life years” (QALYs) a patient may have left. The QALY standard is not an objective medical standard; rather it is inherently subjective. Its calculations result in intrinsically discriminatory effects like ageism, ableism, and racism, and has no place in the United States of America. “Is this patient likely to respond positively to treatment?” is the essential question that must be asked.

3. Ensure COVID-19 Response Remains the Number One National Medical Priority
Effectively responding to the COVID-19 threat must remain our first national medical priority. Shortages that include lifesaving personal protective equipment (PPE) make it clear that America’s physicians and medical personnel need all material and financial support that can be made available. Abortionists who are seeking special treatment or carveouts should not be escorted to the front of the line for access to these vital national assets when Americans across the country are suffering and dying due to this virus.