Latina Reproductive Health on Trial
In 2013, the Texas legislature attempted to do an end-run around protections of women’s reproductive rights by passing a law, H.B. 2, which places onerous restrictions of individual medical providers and health clinics. Texas lawmakers, as the Center for Reproductive Rights has explained, required that physicians who provide abortion services to obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals within 30 miles away of the clinic in which they see patients and also mandated that every health care facility offering abortion care must meet building specifications that essentially turn these outposts of community healthcare into “mini-hospitals.” Under the guise of protecting patients and ensuring quality medical care, the legislators attempted to make it impossible to secure an abortion in the state. Should the law go into effect, estimates are that 75 percent of abortion providers in Texas would have to close their doors.
The impact of H.B. 2 on Texas’ Latinas would be enormous. As the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) noted in its amicus brief with the Supreme Court, Latinas in Texas already face significant barriers to quality health care including lack of insurance, poverty, and access reliable to public transportation. The Texas law would make reproductive health care virtually inaccessible to Latinas throughtout Texas but especially in the already underserved communities along the Texas-Mexico border.
Hispanic Federation has been keeping a close eye on the Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstad. The implications of the law stretch far beyond the Lone Star State and threaten womens’ health access throughout the United States. As part of the national I Am/Yo Soy campaign, Hispanic Federation has been raising awareness in Latino communities about the importance of protecting reproductive freedoms.
“The fact is that anti-choice activists are getting bolder and savvier in their attempts to curtail how women control their bodies,” said Hispanic Federation President José Calderón. “Part of the reason we joined with the NLIRH and our other partners in the I Am/Yo Soy campaign was that we realized that protecting reproductive rights is a national issue and that the issues that affect Latinas in Texas today might very well be something that we have to address in Florida or California tomorrow. Reproductive health is critical to our families and communities and we can’t allow legislatures to circumvent the law of the land.”
For more information on the Hispanic Federation’s work with the I Am/Yo Soy campaign, click here.