Clinician Perspectives on Ethics and COVID‐19: Minding the Gap in Sexual and Reproductive Health

Mary A. Ott, Indiana University School of Medicine Caitlin Bernard, Indiana University School of Medicine Tracey A. Wilkinson, Indiana University School of Medicine Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds, Indiana University School of Medicine

First published online:

| DOI: https://doi.org/10.1363/psrh.12156
Abstract / Summary

In the United States, policies and practices enacted in response to the COVID‐19 pandemic—such as social distancing, sheltering in place, shifting to telemedicine and limiting care to “essential” procedures—are widening gaps in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes and access to services. As obstetrician‐gynecologists, pediatricians and adolescent medicine specialists who are frontline providers of SRH services, we are seeing firsthand the documented decreases in access to SRH education, abortion and contraceptives (particularly long‐acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs), as well as increases in reports of gender‐based violence. These trends have disproportionately affected minoritized and marginalized groups, including adolescents, people of color, those living in poverty, immigrants and undocumented individuals, and residents of rural areas. In this viewpoint, we provide a clinician's perspective on the gaps in services and outcomes between these and more privileged groups, and make recommendations to narrow these gaps, both now and in the future.

Author's Affiliations

Mary A. Ott is professor and Tracey A. Wilkinson is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics; and Caitlin Bernard is assistant professor and Brownsyne Tucker Edmonds is associate professor and assistant dean for diversity affairs, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology—all at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis.


The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect those of the Guttmacher Institute.