Latinx Heritage Month (LHM) is among us! This month we celebrated Latinx culture, roots, and independence. For many, LHM is a time to showcase identity and pride. For others, LHM provides a platform for Latinx education and awareness. However, in the midst of continuous attacks by the administration through xenophobic immigration policies, inequitable housing reformation, destabilization of social and economic access, and critical limitation of healthcare, LHM this year felt different. Not only is it a year where my community lives in fear, but also a year where advocates stand in resistance!
As a Latina reproductive rights advocate, I wanted to elevate this month to recognize the effects that compounding factors, such as barriers to health services, income inequality, limitation to public transportation, environmental exposures, and immigration status have on reproductive health access. For starters, Latinxs, even after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, continue to have the highest rates of uninsured when compared to other groups in the United States. This gap has resulted in poor health outcomes for Latinxs, but in particular, disproportionate reproductive health outcomes for Latinas. For example, Latinas have the highest cervical cancer incidence rates and the second highest cervical cancer death rates among major racial groups.
Additionally, the unintended pregnancy rates of Latinas is higher than non-Latinx white women, as access to contraception and sexual education is limited. Abortion access is also limited due to the public insurance restrictions imposed by the Hyde Amendment and other social and structural obstacles. Latinas deserve to have access to adequate and quality reproductive healthcare. Moreover, they deserve to be treated with respect and have access to services that enable them to thrive as individuals and support their families.
I call on my social justice advocates to continue to uplift Latina-led reproductive justice organizations. Moreover, I call on advocates to recognize the intersection of other social justice issues impacting the reproductive health outcomes of Latinas.
VIVA EL MES DE LA HERENCIA HISPANA!
Latina-led Reproductive Justice Organizations
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights
Young Women United