The Fight for Salud, Dignidad, y Justicia!

Erin Panichkul, LSRJ Summer Intern (’15, Thomas Jefferson School of Law)

The 4th annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice has officially commenced! This week symbolizes empowerment, pride, and mobilization of the Latina population for justice and equality in reproductive health care.

 “As the nation moves forward on immigration reform to create a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants, the health care needs of immigrant women and children have been left behind. This is unfair, unwise, and un-American, and we can’t let this happen.”

-         The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Affordable, accessible, and quality health care is a basic human right regardless of citizenship status. The S. 744 Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 has recently passed the Senate and is said to the biggest move forward for immigration reform. Hooray! But what about access to basic and reproductive health care? What about immigrant families, women, and children? Under the new immigration bill, immigrant women and children could face a waiting period up to 15 years or longer to see a doctor. This is an absurd amount of time – can you imagine telling a patient that the next available appointment they qualified for was on August 5, 2028?

Despite this bad news, there is good news this week for reproductive health access – Plan B One Step, an emergency contraceptive, is now available over the counter without age or identification restrictions.  What does this mean?  You no longer have to wait until the pharmacy is open and show your ID to access emergency contraception (this is only for One-Step, generic brands still require ID  and for those under 17 a prescription too).  This is an important advancement in access, particularly for immigrant women since they are less likely to have government-issued identification.

Go check out if your local drug store is complying with the law and offering Plan B without restrictions!  We did at the LSRJ national office and submitted our pictures to the #ECinourhands tumblr.

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This week we join the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and many other allies in celebrating the Latina Week of Action to build and demonstrate our power in support of reproductive justice, health, and dignity for all!