Becoming a mom in the midst of a possible pandemic

February 26, 2020, 1:21 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Tyler Haney is out at Outdoor Voices (completely this time), feminine products are free in Scotland, and we consider some of the women caught in the coronavirus crisis. 

– Pregnancy in the time of COVID-19. As global anxiety over the coronavirus grows—markets nosedive, the CDC issues ominous new warnings, and Congress expresses doubt about U.S. readiness—it’s becoming harder and harder to focus on the actual humans caught in the front lines of the outbreak.

This New York Times story about the plight of expectant mothers in China is a reminder that there are people attached to the scary data tracking the mounting infections—and that the toll of the virus extends beyond those who have contracted it.

The women who talked to the NYT’s Alexandra Stevenson shared stories of medical staff shortages that have left them scrambling for pre- and postnatal care, fears about whether they might have to give birth at a hospital that’s been designated to treat coronavirus sufferers, the discovery that their original hospital or clinic is now off-limits to pregnant patients, and a host of other challenges that have made an already stressful experience all but unbearable. They feel lonely, frightened and, as Stevenson writes, “left behind.”

At a moment when you can’t escape the headlines blaring “global pandemic!” it’s human nature to obsess about the outbreak’s possible impact on you, your family and friends, and your home country. But if nothing else, this virus is reminding us how inextricably linked the world has become—and that includes the people living in it.

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


- Dem debate. During last night's Democratic debate—not quite as eventful as last week's—Sen. Elizabeth Warren again went after Mayor Mike Bloomberg, including his use of non-disclosure agreements and his alleged comment to a female employee, when he found out she was pregnant, that she should "kill it" (he denies it). Moderator Gayle King asked Warren for evidence, and the senator's answer was striking: "her words." New York Times

- Call for recusal. President Trump wants Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor to recuse themselves from "all Trump or Trump-related matters." He tweeted the request—unlikely to come to pass—after Sotomayor said in her recent dissent that conservative justices are biased in the president's favor. In other Supreme Court-adjacent news, Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, has in recent weeks successfully lobbied the Trump administration to fire some officials as Trump grows warier of those around him in the aftermath of the impeachment trial. 

- Out the door. After the news that Tyler Haney would step down as CEO of the company she founded, Outdoor Voices, Haney has announced that she will leave the athleisure brand entirely, no longer holding onto the official title of "founder" or retaining a seat on the board of directors. The dramatic move comes in the wake of reports that the brand was losing $2 million a month on its $40 million a year in revenue. The startup's interim CEO is Cliff Moskowitz. BuzzFeed

- Free bleed. Scotland will be the first nation in the world to make menstrual products entirely free to its citizens. The Scottish parliament approved a bill that will provide pads and tampons at public places like community centers, youth clubs, and even pharmacies, a commitment that is estimated to cost $31.2 million a year. Scotland already offers free period products at schools and universities. Reuters

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Disney promoted Hulu CMO Kelly Campbell to president of the streaming service. BlackRock co-founder and vice chairman Barbara Novick, who built the money manager's powerful lobbying arm in Washington, is stepping down; she'll become a senior adviser at the firm. 


- Slam dunk. Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu on Monday set an NCAA record: the first player—men's or women's—to collect 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career. Ionescu is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA draft this year. She'd just spoken at the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant earlier that day before setting the record. NPR

- California, here we come? Anti-vaccine protesters rallied outside the home of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom. In a conversation with the demonstrators, Siebel Newsom was filmed saying that her husband's administration is "talking to integrative and functional medicine doctors who understand this" and that "there needs to be more conversation around spreading out vaccines, around only giving children the vaccines that are most essential." A spokesman for the governor told the LA Times that "the laws signed by Newsom last year are the official position of the administration." LA Times

- Workplace advice. As Black History Month comes to a close, Trudy Bourgeois, founder of the Center for Workforce Excellence, and Julia Taylor Kennedy, executive vice president at the Center for Talent Innovation, write for Fortune about steps employers can take to improve workplaces for black employees. First, white employees must truly understand and see the experiences of their black colleagues. Fortune


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