Image: Felipe Esquivel Reed / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)
Our Links Roundup posts are a way of spotlighting some of the most interesting things we’ve come across on the web each week. We want to draw attention to thoughtful articles, clever ideas to reduce abortion, compelling personal stories, or good ways of approaching the abortion debate.
The Coronavirus has changed everything, and you don’t need us to tell you that. We’re going to devote our first links roundup to the pandemic, and ways of responding to it that help build up a proper culture of life.
First of all, though you’re all no doubt tired of people saying this, the most important things for most people to do at the moment are the basics: proper hand-washing, social distancing, working from home if possible, cancelling non-essential visits. On this last point, it’s helpful to think in terms of universalisability: how would we cope with the virus if everyone did what you did? If everyone had a COVID party or went around seeing all their friends, the virus spread would be disastrous. Don’t assume that you’re the one person who gets an exemption. This Guardian report’s interviews with Italian medics show how grim things can get. Let’s try to save all the lives we can.
Pregnancy and the virus
For anyone worried about getting the virus while pregnant, the HSE guidelines for what to do if you’re pregnant and have COVID symptoms are here. It’s not completely clear yet how the virus affects pregnant women and their babies: if we become aware of more info on that front, we’ll share it.
Material support for pregnant women
Aside from the direct effects of the virus, it’s also having a huge impact on the economy – which in turn can make things more difficult for women with crisis pregnancies. Our friends at Secular Pro-Life put it well:
Nearly three out of four people who have abortions say that financial strain contributed to the abortion decision (“I can’t afford a baby now.”). Pregnancy centers exist to provide the support necessary to make choosing life easier, including free baby and maternity supplies, job training, prenatal care, and direct financial assistance.
As the coronavirus causes major disruptions to the tourism, entertainment, sports, and service industries, with the effects reverberating to other sectors, the number of families needing financial help is growing. The situation will get worse before it gets better.
Secular Pro-Life urge people to support crisis pregnancy centres in doing their vital work. We don’t really have these in the same way in Ireland, but there are groups doing concrete work to support women and their babies. The Zoe Community are helping connect women with community groups who will bring groceries and supplies to any pregnant woman who’s in isolation due to the virus. Message them on Facebook here or via their website here.
While we’re talking about material support, here’s a useful piece from the Irish Examiner on how to claim social welfare if you’ve been affected by COVID-19.
Being pregnant and homeless is never good and it’s especially tough now.
Fundraise to fight the virus
The WHO has a COVID-19 solidarity fund that anyone can donate to. From the website:
Donations support WHO’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus; to ensure patients get the care they need and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate efforts to develop vaccines, tests, and treatments.
You can donate here. There are also a lot of other good places to give money if you want to help fight COVID-19, but this is a straightforward place to start.
Make yourself available to help fight the virus
If you’re a healthcare professional of any sort who’s not already working in the health service (or even if you’re not) the HSE have a sign-up form that will put you on a list of people to be called if the healthcare system needs extra capacity. Sign up here.
If you’re a healthcare professional on this list you may get called and placed into a paid role to help combat the virus. See the FAQ here.
You can sign up to this list as a volunteer (or perhaps for paid roles depending on what skills you have to offer) even if you’re not a healthcare professional – they haven’t said what they’ll use the regular volunteers for yet, but it’s good for them to have a list of willing people.
As time goes on there may be more opportunities for volunteering, for example from people who have already had the virus and recovered. Volunteer Ireland recommends helping out informally in your local community:
If you know people in your community who may be vulnerable and can contact them safely (e.g. phone call, whatsapp, drop note into door), just let them know that you are available and can assist with shopping etc.
NB – Don’t actually go into people’s houses or approach them unsolicited, that could just make things worse by spreading the infection: the above ways of getting in contact are safer!
You can also sign up to Volunteer Ireland here – as time goes on they’ll have more coronavirus-related volunteering opportunities. There is also a map of ‘self-isolation helpers’ at https://randall.ie/help/ where people can offer or request help.
In addition to this, local groups have been set up in many areas: see for example Cork COVID-19 Volunteers for The Vulnerable.
That’s all for now: stay safe everyone.