Latinas in Texas Face Human Rights Violations for Restricted Reproductive Rights
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Center for Reproductive Rights released a report last week documenting the impact of state funding cuts to family planning services on Texas women, particularly women living in the southern Rio Grande Valley [see PDF]. The report asserts that Latinas in Texas - where more than 60 reproductive health clinics have closed since 2010 - face such severely restricted and limited reproductive health care that their human rights are violated.
Latinas in the Rio Grande Valley face almost insurmountable barriers to obtaining reproductive health care that can delay or prevent treatment. Distant and inaccessible clinics, lack of transportation to those clinics, and immigration status can prevent women from receiving the care they need. The high cost of care, as well as appointment wait times that can exceed several months, are also large barriers.
"We want to grow, give back to this country," said a woman interviewed for the report named Liria. "But for that to happen we need to be in good health."
Because of the difficulty in accessing quality care, women may be driven to use illegal products and services that are potentially dangerous to their health, and they may face increased stress, anxiety and insecurity. More unintended pregnancies, higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, and limited access to fertility treatment are also negative outcomes.
Texas has grown increasingly hostile to reproductive rights and access over the past few years. Women's health clinics that offer abortions have been excluded from state funding for women's health, and they have been required to abide by Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP) that are impossible to follow, causing many to close. A law passed over the summer requiring physicians who provide abortion to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital has gone into effect as well after surviving a courtbattle.
Media Resources: Nuestro Texas; Feminist Newswire 9/5/13, 10/3/13, 10/29/13, 11/1/13
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .