Ethical challenges for women’s healthcare highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic

Journal of Medical Ethics 47 (2):69-72 (2021)
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Healthcare policies developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to safeguard community health have the potential to disadvantage women in three areas. First, protocols for deferral of elective surgery may assign a lower priority to important reproductive outcomes. Second, policies regarding the prevention and treatment of COVID-19 may not capture the complexity of the considerations related to pregnancy. Third, policies formulated to reduce infectious exposure inadvertently may increase disparities in maternal health outcomes and rates of violence towards women. In this commentary, we outline these challenges unique to women’s healthcare in a pandemic, provide preliminary recommendations and identify areas for further exploration and refinement of policy.



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