Latinas/xs Need Abortion Justice and Economic Justice

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Fair Pay

Resilient is often used to describe Latinas/xs.

Resilient in a country where our communities, time and time again, face discrimination and obstacles to living safe, healthy lives.

Now resilient in a post-Dobbs society where millions of people across the nation are blocked from accessing abortion care, disrupting their economic futures and putting their health and even lives at risk.

The continued attacks on abortion access fall hardest on Latinas/xs and other communities of color, who may work multiple jobs that provide no sick days or insurance coverage, and who often live in communities that are underserved and lacking in structural supports.

More than 3 million Latinas living in the 26 states that have banned or are likely to ban abortion are economically insecure. Women with low incomes are especially impacted by state bans as they are more likely to lack access to the necessary time and funds to travel to another state for abortion care.

Given the increased economic resources required to access abortions in many communities post-Dobbs, Latinas in these 26 states who face large wage gaps are particularly likely to be harmed. In fact, Latinas have one of the largest wage gaps among women, paid just 52 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men. This is partly because Latinas are over-represented in low-wage service occupations, such as servers and cleaners. Our research shows that more than 1.4 million Latinas in the 26 states surveyed work in service occupations. These same jobs are less likely to provide access to supports that are necessary both to access abortion care and to achieve economic security, including paid sick days and flexible scheduling. This further exacerbates the employment barriers undocumented Latinas face, from their fear of deportation and denial of basic human rights. Furthermore, women denied abortion care are significantly more likely to be pushed deeper into poverty – these harms are cyclical and mutually reinforcing.

As we celebrate Latinx Heritage Month – and also mark Latina Equal Pay Day – we must acknowledge that Latinas/xs, time and time again, bear the brunt of extreme policies that rob us of the tools we need to stay healthy, make decisions about when or whether to become parents and raise our families with dignity and safety. We must acknowledge the harm that bans on abortion care have on our communities and families. They do nothing to protect anyone’s health or safety.

We know that attacks on abortion care will only continue.

We won’t stand by while extremists take away our freedoms. We must fight against anti-abortion activists who are doing everything they can to ban abortion, including making false claims about abortion and the people who have or provide them to justify denying people care.

Latina Equal Pay Day is an important time to explore why Latinas’ earnings fail to reflect their invaluable role in our society and economy – and to take action to bridge that gap.

We need paid sick days and paid family and medical leave without the threat of economic insecurity. Lawmakers must pass the Raise the Wage Act, the Paycheck Fairness Act, and the BE HEARD Act to support and uplift these Latinas whose invaluable labor continues to be devalued by the pervasive wage gap.

We need policies that support our whole lives, including better access to hospitals and clinics, healthcare provided by people our communities trust, insurance that covers our real needs, a path to citizenship, and policies that support families and individuals to thrive, like the HEAL for Immigrant Families Act.

We know that when people can make decisions about their own reproductive healthcare, including whether and when to have children, families and communities thrive and people have more control over their economic security.

We must invest in the economic security, health, and well-being of all Latinas/xs.

We are resilient – and we are committed to economic and reproductive justice so that everyone has access to the affordable healthcare they need, including abortion care.