The COVID-19 Outbreak: Potential Fallout for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The global epidemic of COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on a wide array of health, economic, social and personal decisions. However, what may be lost in the chaos among other effects and dangers is the specific impact on sexual and reproductive health and rights, both for people in the United States and around the world. Policymakers, providers and advocates must be aware of the broad links between the global outbreak response and sexual and reproductive health and rights in order to prepare to mitigate the impact.

Unlike the Zika virus outbreak, where sexual and mother-to-infant transmission were well-established, much less is known today about these potential transmission routes for COVID-19. In addition, the specific risk to pregnant women and their infants is not yet clear, but these groups are often particularly vulnerable to infectious disease threats. Therefore, many experts say an enhanced focus on primary prevention for pregnant women is warranted.