The 100 Most Influential People of 2020
Jitske Schols
By Cecile Richards
September 22, 2020 9:34 PM EDT

It seems logical, during a pandemic, for elected officials to focus on expanding access to health care. Instead, some seized the opportunity to try to ban abortion, responding to one public-health emergency by creating another.

Enter Dutch physician and activist Rebecca Gomperts, one of the bravest people I know. She’s spent her career expanding abortion access around the world, using everything from sea voyages to drones to the Internet to reach the people who count on her—­especially those in rural, restricted and dangerous areas. In 2019, Gomperts sued the FDA for the ability to continue providing early, safe abortion remotely in the form of pills through her organization, Aid Access, after the agency allegedly attempted to block her distribution. Now, with barriers to abortion—cost, risk of COVID-19, childcare and politics, to name a few—more daunting than ever, Gomperts’ work is especially urgent. This spring, Aid Access saw a spike in requests across the U.S. as demand for remote medical care increased. In this moment of fear and uncertainty, Gomperts is a beacon of hope, standing up for the principle that safe abortion is a human right.

Richards is the co-founder of Supermajority and a former president of Planned Parenthood

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