The Maria Fund continues to operate with some adjustments that prioritize the care and situation of the people who ask for our support and also the team that provides it. The demand for support has increased and is more complex. The use of both e-mail and text messaging as a form of contact have increased. This is because phone calls are complicated by the lack of privacy that the majority of people now have, being confined with family members and/or their partners.
Support for aspiration abortion procedures in Mexico City for first-trimester patients has been suspended in order to avoid exposure to Covid-19, and also because this means people would need to travel from their home state to Mexico City, where the virus is more widespread. However, misoprostol is still accessible, pharmacies remain open and people can get it without a prescription.
Some clinics in Mexico City, both public and private, continue to function although not every day of the week. A few have closed, not least because there is not a lot of demand for in-clinic abortions. We are prioritizing cases over 12 weeks that involve legal indications such as pregnancy resulting from sexual violence, risk to women´s health, and serious fetal anomalies or malformations. In these cases, they do need to travel to Mexico City, but first we ask some filter questions to find out if there is any risk of them having Covid-19 or symptoms of the virus, before we propose they make the journey. If their answers indicate some risk, the priority is that they receive attention for Covid-19 first.
Other challenges in these cases are logistical and have to do mainly with accommodation and travel to Mexico City, as hotels have closed and we need to find them other types of lodging, and airlines and buses are only minimally functioning.
We are facing major financial challenges because there are expenses that go beyond the daily routine. For example, the use of taxis for local transfers for both the people who are going to have an abortion and the team of abortion doulas that accompany them. Also, logistics are taking longer and that may increase the number of weeks of pregnancy along with the cost of the procedure.
We are now searching for donorsto help us, so that we can fill this huge gap in our budget, as we need more economic resources than ever – not only for the demand right now but foreseeing the support we will need to give in the coming months as women remain isolated with their families, partners and potential aggressors, meaning that unwanted pregnancies will increase.
SOURCE: E-mail from Daniela Tejas Miguez, Co-Coordinadora, Fondo MARIA-Balance, Mexico, 28 April 2020