LSReJuvenated after the Annual Leadership Institute

Grace Ramsay, LSRJ Summer Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) Intern (’16, Smith College)

Ever experience “social justice burnout”?  When your day-to-day is filled with researching and discussing painful topics, it can feel daunting, or even impossible, to continue in RJ work.  The 2014 Leadership Institute gave me new energy to approach the rest of this internship and to continue my work in reproductive justice.  After a whirlwind weekend starting and ending with the cute/ creepy Virgin America safety music video, the LSRJ national office is back in Oakland.  The LSRJ seventh annual Leadership Institute, hosted at George Washington University School of Law, was beyond successful from both the national office side and the attendees’ side.  I was excited to represent an organization and wear the “LSRJ hat,” while also wearing the “attendee hat” which  meant that I could check in with folks who I could consider my peers for honest feedback of the conference.  Everyone I had the chance to talk to loved the weekend as much as I did! Here were my five favorite parts of the 2014 LSRJ Leadership Institute:

1) Panels and workshops.  Of course, this was the main content of the LI, and I had the opportunity to sit in on several workshops as the point-person.  During the presentations – which varied from ways to message around abortion, to a how-to for strategic LSRJ chapter planning, to an introduction to policymaking – I got to absorb knowledge from experts across the spectrum of RJ advocacy.  Judging from how engaged our attendees were, they also appreciated the breadth of knowledge that they can now take back to their LSRJ chapters.

2) Experiencing behind the scenes facilitation.  There’s so much that goes into facilitating a conference, and I only played a small part in making sure this LI went smoothly.  Working with the national office to ensure every detail was set made me appreciate how much forethought and planning has to go into organizing successful events.  From handing water bottles to speakers, to timing each workshop, I was only able to successfully complete my part of the work because of the effort that Keely and Samantha had already put in.  Y’all are awesome!

3) Giving a presentation to a large audience.  Part of my responsibility at the LI was presenting one of LSRJ’s event toolkits to the chapter leaders.  Because of the preparation work we all put in beforehand, I felt 100% comfortable and in control of the materials I presented.  As I said to my mom on the phone afterwards, now I understand why you’re supposed to prepare presentations instead of winging it!  I’m hoping that my presentation of the sex-ed event toolkit, along with Gavin and Sasha’s event toolkit presentations, helped chapter leaders better understand how to put on successful events on their campuses.

4) Connecting with LSRJ folks. One person I spoke with this weekend called the LSRJ network a “family.”  She said the term networking is too scary and inaccessible to describe the connections formed during the LI.  I appreciated that so many law students were willing to engage with me – a lowly undergrad!- and suggest different organizations I should check out in the upcoming semester.  Like I said before, I was lucky enough to both represent internsLSRJ and interact with attendees in a more interpersonal sense.

5) Bonding with the office!  There’s something about flying across the coast that makes a national office closer.  I can’t speak for all of us, but I have the feeling everyone had a more-than-fun time together, especially us interns.  Yes, this is a Snapchat:

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2014 Leadership Institute, and I hope that everyone there found it beyond worthwhile!

Birth Control vs. Population Control, and Why it Matters

Grace Ramsay, LSRJ Summer Reproductive Rights Activist Service Corps (RRASC) Intern (’16, Smith College)

Earlier this month, I attended a discussion hosted by Population Action International, NARAL, and the Ibis Foundation, addressing the global gag rule and its effects on reproductive health worldwide.  Basically, the gag rule is a U.S. executive policy that prevents any countries receiving U.S. family planning aid from offering abortion services, even if the country wants to use its own funds to do so.  It was created under the Reagan administration – every Democratic president has since reversed it, and every Republican president has reinstated it.  It’s a clear anti-choice policy that has disastrous effects on family planning initiatives worldwide.

During the talk, the NARAL representative alluded to allying with environmental action groups.  When birth control advocates/family planning initiatives “go abroad” and team up with environmentalists, I tend to get concerned.  The language can quickly move away from the need for universal access to the variety of contraceptive methods and instead focus on how developing nations are “irresponsibly reproducing”.   So often I hear rhetoric like, Lower birth rates will put less strain on our natural resources! Or, We’re reaching our carrying capacity!  Such statements are especially misleading because the U.S. actually consumes more natural resources than developing countries.  I was pleasantly surprised that this talk kept its focus on ensuring the right to family planning for all women.

As a person who cares about RJ, I absolutely support the right to global contraceptive access and I also think it’s really important to take a nuanced look at the way we talk about population control in relationship to birth control access, in the light of the U.S.’s own eugenic history.

Let’s not forget that not one generation ago we were forcing sterilization upon disabled people, incarcerated people, and poor people, in an attempt to create a more “fit” American population.

Let’s not forget that in the 1970s, African American and Puerto Rican women were disproportionately sterilized without their consent.  Meanwhile, white women were campaigning for the right to birth control.

Let’s not forget that the United States knowingly sold the dangerous Dalkon Shield contraceptive to developing countries, after it was removed for sale in America.

Let’s not forget that the reproductive justice movement aims for the freedom to choose when and how to have a family (or not).   When we introduce anything else into the equation – even for the sake of “saving our planet” – it becomes coercive.  If we shift away from this concept for the sake of “saving our planet” we lose the voices that matter most: the people in the population.  And if replacement population rates become the end goal for contraception distribution, rather than enabling women’s agency and autonomy worldwide, we’re at risk of replicating our eugenic past (and present).  Population control efforts and RJ efforts may both create the same result (a lower population), but to me, intent is what matters most.

Trans Sex Workers and Reproductive Justice

Candace Gibson, Resident Blogger (’12, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)

The reproductive justice and LGBTQ liberation movements share the values of bodily autonomy and sexual liberation and believe that all persons should have the resources they need to form the families they want.  However, many of these desires, including bodily autonomy, are often denied to trans persons, especially trans sex workers, many of whom are trans women of color. At a recent conference that I attended, Cyndee Clay, Executive Director of HIPS, painfully articulated the experiences of trans sex workers and their attempts to survive in our economy.  She had mentioned how trans sex workers not only faced violence from their clients but also from the police as they were arrested, how police officers often sexually harassed these individuals. In 2013, a D.C. police officer shot three transgender women in a car after one of the transwomen refused to provide sex for money.  Clay also discussed how often young trans persons were forced onto the streets because their families rejected who they were and that trans persons are excluded and erased from larger conversations on anti-trafficking efforts, unfortunately nothing new to many of us in different movements.

Clay’s comments remind me that we still live in a society hung up with gender, body parts, and the selling of sex.  Unfortunately, through our regulation and, in this case, criminalization of sexual desire for sale, we often harm and kill the most vulnerable without providing critical solutions and resources for those who are merely trying to survive.  Survival should not be the standard for some-we should all have the resources we need to thrive as persons and as members of our community.

Maybe, it’s time for the broader reproductive justice community to center the voices of sex workers, especially trans sex workers, in our conversations.  It may be hard at first but we have never shied away from a challenge.  

Support the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act!

This article was originally published by the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Lauren Paulk is the Law Students for Reproductive Justice Fellow at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Though the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will go a long way toward ensuring access to quality healthcare for most LGBT individuals, many LGBT immigrants are still prohibited from obtaining the affordable health care they need. Despite being authorized to live and work in the United States, many immigrants—including LGBT immigrants—are ineligible for affordable health coverage and care through vital programs like Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Many immigrants are subject to a ban that makes them ineligible for federal Medicaid and CHIP for at least the first five years they are authorized to live and work in the United States, and other lawfully present immigrants who do not fall into an outdated and restrictive list of “qualified” immigrants are barred altogether. Since immigrants—particularly LGBT immigrants—are disproportionately low-income, it can be difficult or impossible to obtain the health care they need. That means five years without insurance coverage for critical and life-saving services, including pap smears, mammograms, HIV treatment, mental health care, or pediatric care for children.

Young people granted status through “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) are forced to wait even longer. DACA refers to a program enacted in 2012 that allows undocumented people ages 15-30 who arrived in the US as children (and who are currently in school or working) to remain here for renewable two-year periods. While they are considered lawfully present and are eligible to work and pay into public health benefits systems, they are prevented from accessing affordable care. Currently, people with DACA status are ineligible for federal Medicaid or CHIP coverage and the years they live in the United States with DACA status will not count toward the five years of lawful presence required before they become eligible. To add insult to injury, these young people are even ineligible to purchase private health insurance on the ACA exchange—with or without federal subsidies.

Many LGBT immigrants come to the US after fleeing interpersonal and state abuse based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. However, once they arrive, LGBT immigrants face a number of challenges to obtaining affordable and culturally competent health care. While the ACA will continue to combat the discrimination LGBT people face in the health care system due to lack of cultural competency, all of its positive effects are out of reach for LGBT immigrants because of gaps in coverage. The existing barriers to affordable health care disenfranchise hard-working LGBT immigrants who come to the United States to have a better life, only to encounter difficulty getting the care they need. Moreover, because LGBT immigrants are much less likely than non-immigrants to be able to access health care through their jobs, they are putting work into a system that does not support them.

However, new legislation introduced by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham would change these realities for good. The Health Equity and Access under the Law for Immigrant Women and Families Act of 2014 (“HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act” for short) restores access to Medicaid and CHIP for immigrants authorized to live and work in the United States who are otherwise eligible. The bill also extends full participation in the ACA to young people granted status under DACA.

The HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act is especially important for families. LGBT families are more likely to live in poverty than non-LGBT families, meaning health care on the private market is often out of reach. We know that LGBT people deserve the same access to health care as non-LGBT people, and this should include LGBT immigrants. The HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act would bridge the gaps in the ACA, Medicaid, and CHIP by extending needed care options to immigrants, and in so doing, strengthen our workplace, our economy, and our communities. NCLR applauds Congresswoman Lujan Grisham for introducing the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act, and we encourage other members of Congress who support the LGBT community to stand beside her in expanding the health care options for many LGBT immigrants. Please show your support for the HEAL Immigrant Women and Families Act by signing this pledge, put together by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Please check out @NLIRH’s twitter timeline for more information on how this important bill will impact our communities!

Lady Parts

Mangala Kanayson, Resident Blogger (’15, Emory University School of Law)

Dear LSRJ Blog Reader,

Lady Parts (LP) is a student-run production that highlights the issues surrounding gender, sexuality, and identity, as pertaining to women. Through a series of monologues, LP aims to educate, enlighten, and empower both women and the surrounding community in order to accept, advocate, and celebrate.

In 2013,  Emory Law Students for Reproductive Justice, in partnership with the corresponding student organizations at the Public Health and Medical Schools, brought Eve Ensler’s play “The Vagina Monologues” to the Emory Graduate community for the first time. This year the show has progressed toward new goals. In the interest of creating a more diverse and inclusive show this year’s production will be featuring monologues written by Emory students about the modern day triumphs and hardships of being a woman. We are particularly interested in exploring the intersectionality of other aspects of identity (age, race, orientation, class) with womanhood and how our experiences are both shared and different.

If you’re in the Atlanta area and interested in acting or would like to learn more about the production, please click here and get involved. The show is on March 20, 2014 at 7pm in Tull Auditorium. We look forward to seeing you in March! If you’d like to support us but are unable to do so in person, please consider donating to our beneficiary SPARK on behalf of LadyParts here.

XOXO, Emory LSRJ

We must improve access to all reproductive health care

Melissa Torres-Montoya, Resident Blogger (’11, University of California, Berkeley School of Law)

Last year, as a LSRJ fellow, I had the incredible experience of working on federal policy work in Washington, DC, but as you can imagine, it was also an incredibly busy experience because, essential aspects of women’s health care and more broadly reproductive justice were under constant attack.  During my time as a fellow, I became particularly familiar with policies like the Hyde Amendment, a provision that has been passed every year since 1976 and unjustly restricts access to abortion services to women who get their health coverage through Medicaid.  This disproportionately affects  women of color and women with lower incomes.  Yes, Roe v. Wade says abortion is legal, but federal and state policies continue to narrow abortion access and the first to feel these continued attacks are the most vulnerable – communities of color and low income women.

This year, I started a new job where I’m working to end the HIV epidemic and help create an AIDS free generation.  As with many health justice issues, communities of color experience huge disparities in HIV infection rates.   Black women experienced 64% of the new HIV infections in 2010.  Latinas experience higher rates of human papilloma virus (HPV) and the death rate among Latins from cervical cancer is double that of white women.  Moreover, since Latinas experience disproportionate rates of HIV infection and HIV positive women are 4-5 times more susceptible to cervical cancer, the rates of HIV infection among Latinas likely contributes to the much higher death rate among Latinas from cervical cancer.

As I delve into HIV/AIDS advocacy work and reflect on my experience as an LSRJ Fellow and the anniversary of Roe v. Wade this week, I am re-remembering that attaining reproductive justice for women of color not only relies on increasing access to abortion care but also improving access to all reproductive health care.

Gloria Steinem Knows Immigration Reform is a Woman’s Issue.

Christine Poquiz, Resident Blogger (’12, University of California, Davis School of Law)

It was a little surreal meeting Gloria Steinem, someone I’ve read and heard about and idolized my entire life. Even though she denies it, she IS a feminist icon.

BZdDeH0CcAA38BB

Christine Poquiz [far right] with Gloria Steinem and NAPAWF staff

So it was definitely a fangirl moment hearing her talk about immigration reform at the National Press Club where, in 1972, she became its first female speaker. While Steinem was in Washington, D.C. to receive her Presidential Medal of Freedom,  she took the time to also speak at a We Belong Together event about the importance of comprehensive immigration reform as a feminist issue.

Joined by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and activists sharing their personal stories, Steinem spoke up on why immigration is a critical feminist issue.  “The truth of the matter is, there is an unrealistic portrayal of who immigrants really are. 75 percent of all immigrants are women and children, while 51 percent of all undocumented workers are women… Throughout history, women were the ones who moved. We moved into husbands’ family homes, we moved for a better life, we moved for our children.” She noted that if we traced those paths of women moving, it would look like “lace across our globe,” and that we are all connected by that “lace.”

As a Reproductive Justice Fellow at the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF), I’ve been working on comprehensive immigration reform policy for the past year.  People often ask me “how is immigration connected to reproductive justice?” To me, immigration is so clearly entrenched in reproductive justice that it’s hard for me to understand why people can’t see it. As Steinem mentioned, over 51% of immigrants are women. Our current immigration policies cater to men, devalue women’s work, deny women healthcare and basic labor protections, and separate families. Because of deportation fears, undocumented women are reluctant to report domestic abuse and other crimes against them.

One of the campaigns NAPAWF leads, in partnership with the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance, is the We Belong Together campaign (WBT). WBT highlights the struggles immigrant women face and is uplifting women’s voices and addressing what women need in immigration reform. WBT has also helped mobilize allies in the women’s movement who don’t traditionally focus on immigration, like Moms Rising and the National Council for Jewish Women. WBT momentum has been escalating the past year – from advocacy Hill visits to Senate hearings for immigrant women to mass civil disobediences in front of Congress. The Gloria event last week is a perfect illustration of how WBT brings together unexpected allies.

Senator Hirono, who has been our strongest advocate for women in immigration reform, spoke about her own personal experiences as an Asian woman, and her continuing struggle to speak out and push back against gendered expectations that make us uncomfortable with calling attention to ourselves. Everyday she tells herself, “I’m going to say something!” (I will explore this further in another blog post). During this critical debate on immigration reform, women have been stepping up and speaking out, and we need to continue to do so and urge our sisters to do so. Immigration is a woman’s issue. 

While, with just 10 legislative days left in the year, immigration reform seems a little beyond our grasp, these amazing women fueled my motivation, and the motivation of the hundreds of people watching, to get our broken immigration system fixed and make sure women aren’t left out.

 

For Immigrant Women, Health Care Remains Out of Reach

This article was published by The National Women’s Health Network.

Candace Gibson is the Law Students for Reproductive Justice Second Year Fellow at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, a Steering Committee Member of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights.

Early this year, I heard Sophia’s story, and it has stuck with me ever since. Sophia is an undocumented Latina immigrant living in Texas. Because of her immigration status, she is locked out of our health care system. Neither her nor her husband’s employer offers health insurance and, although Sophia’s family would qualify for Medicaid coverage on the basis of income, they are barred from participating in the program because they are undocumented. They are too afraid to enroll their children, who are U.S. citizens. While a handful of Texas clinics serve undocumented women’s health needs, none are easy to get to, and even the sliding scale fees are beyond Sophia’s reach.

A few years ago, Sophia experienced a painful gynecological problem and needed care. Without options, however, she suffered without care until she finally became desperate. Eventually, she was forced to cross the border into Mexico to seek care there; pay a coyote to bring her back into the U.S. by swimming across the Rio Grande; and risk the dangers of sexual assault, violence, and deportation.

Because immigrant women often live in the shadows, it is hard to know how many share Sophia’s story — but we do know that millions of immigrant women share her circumstances. As Congress debates immigration reform, many women’s health advocates and immigrants are watching closely to see how reform efforts might address this population’s barriers to accessing health care. Unfortunately, the proposals currently under consideration in the U.S. House and Senate perpetuate — and even exacerbate — these barriers, making stories like Sophia’s the heartbreaking status quo of immigrant women in the United States.

A Troubling History

Immigrants have long faced restrictions in accessing health insurance and services, but a proliferation of policies in the last few decades have made access even harder. In 1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA, more commonly known as “welfare reform”). PRWORA instituted a mandatory five-year delay for lawfully present immigrant women who qualify for Medicaid to get covered. So, an immigrant woman with legal permanent resident (LPR) status has to wait for five years before she can get Medicaid coverage.

The 2009 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA, also called “Obamacare”) explicitly left immigrant families out of the expansion of health care access for millions of Americans. Under the ACA, undocumented women cannot receive subsidies or tax credits to participate in the Health Insurance Marketplaces, and they are barred from buying plans at full price (although it is not likely many could afford to do so).i This restriction undermines the ACA’s spirit, which was to ensure access to quality, affordable health care for all uninsured people in this country.

One of the few ways an immigrant woman can get limited health care, for a limited amount of time, is if her state is one of the few that has opted to use its own funds to provide Medicaid coverage for pregnant, immigrant, low-income women. In 15 states all immigrant women qualify for coverage, regardless of their immigration status; in another 20 states, only LPR women are eligible.ii A major problem with this policy is that the health coverage is limited to care directly related to the pregnancy, so a woman with an unrelated health condition (like a broken bone) cannot get care for that condition.

Immigration Reform Debate Leaves Health Care Behind

Earlier this year, and after months of intense negotiation, the U.S. Senate passed a historic comprehensive immigration reform bill. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S. 744) provides a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented people and addresses several of the immigrant communities’ key concerns. Yet, the bill also includes severe restrictions on health coverage for the very immigrant families it seeks to bring out of the shadows. S. 744 adds to PRWORA’s terrible legacy by withholding health care for people on the pathway to citizenship for up to 15 years.iii  The law requires aspiring citizens to pay taxes, fees, and penalties; take English classes, which are hard to find in many communities; demonstrate regular employment, which is challenging in this economy; as well as other requirements. During this 15-year timeframe, they are excluded from affordable health care.iv

We should note that several lawmakers championed immigrant women’s health and well-being during the Senate debate, including Senators Hirono (D-HI), Boxer (D-CA), Leahy (D-VT), and Murray (D-WA). Senator Hirono introduced the “Taxpayer Fairness” amendment (ultimately withdrawn), which would have prevented any immigrant woman who fulfilled her tax obligations from being barred from Federal programs, including health programs, based on her immigration status.v

Under the Senate bill, immigrant women on the path to citizenship would be denied access to Medicaid services for 15 years (or longer if their change in status is delayed), which could be the difference between life and death for a woman with breast or cervical cancer. For many immigrant women, getting — and staying — on this path to citizenship will be a daunting challenge. Many will not be able to achieve it. Meanwhile, their health and that of their families will be in jeopardy.

The Fight Isn’t Over Yet

The current national conversation about immigration reform largely fails to recognize the contributions that immigrant women make to their families, communities, and our nation’s economy, or the vital need for them to be able to access health care. The good news is that there is a crucial window of opportunity to influence the nation’s discourse and policies on immigration reform. As the House of Representatives considers several proposals for immigration reform, it is critical that policymakers hear from women (immigrant and citizen alike) who believe that access to health care is a human right and should not be restricted simply because of a person’s birthplace.

If you believe that immigrant women are the backbone of their families and their communities, please stand with the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights’ efforts to ensure they get the health care they need. Join our Congressional postcard campaign, “I’m Fighting #4immigrantwomen,” athttp://nciwr.org/campaigns/im_fighting_for. Learn more about how you can support immigrant women’s health and rights, by following us online (www.nciwr.org) or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/NCIWR). After all, would you want your mother or sister to wait 15 years to see their doctor?


i. National Immigration Law Center Website. “Immigrants and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).” Los Angeles, CA: National Immigration Law Center. March 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013 fromhttp://nilc.org/immigrantshcr.html.

ii. Hassedt K. “Toward Equity and Access: Removing Legal Barriers to Health Insurance     Coverage for Immigrants.” Guttmacher Policy Review Winter 2013; 16:2-8. Retrieved October   1, 2013 fromhttp://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/16/1/gpr160102.html.

iii.  National Immigration Law Center Website. “The Senate Immigration Reform Bill (S.744) What’s Good, What’s Bad.” Los Angeles, CA: National Immigration Law Center. July 11, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013 from http://nilc.org/s744goodbadtable.html.

iv.  National Immigration Law Center Website. “The Senate Immigration Reform Bill (S.744) What’s Good, What’s Bad.” Los Angeles, CA: National Immigration Law Center. July 11, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2013 from http://nilc.org/s744goodbadtable.html.

v.  Sen. Mazie Hirono, Press Release: Hirono Introduces Amendment to Immigration Bill to Fix Provisions that Unfairly Penalize Immigrant Taxpayers, Washington, D.C.: US Senate, June 18, 2013. Available online at: http://www.hirono.senate.gov/press-releases/hirono-introduces-amendment-… last visited September 15, 2013.

Has Reproductive Justice Been Co-opted?

Mangala Kanayson, Resident Blogger (’15, Emory University School of Law)

There’s a diversity problem at my LSRJ chapter.

There are four women of color on a board of twelve – a problem that is not unique to our chapter. At a recent national leadership conference we discussed reaching out to and collaborating with non-white groups to solve our diversity problem. What we failed to consider was that the problem might not be one of outreach but of co-opted space.

We have an uncomfortable habit of dismissing ideas from women of color until they are championed by a white person.  Part of the reason is that LSRJ is the de facto feminist organization in many law schools. A huge swath of our members is unaware that reproductive justice arose as an answer to the overwhelming whiteness of feminism. Many don’t realize that reproductive justice was a response to the silencing and dismissal of women of color in feminist spaces. We don’t always remember how hard women of color worked to build a movement wherein non-white voices were heard and addressed.

At a school where it is depressingly common to see a black table surrounded by a sea of white ones it should not shock us that our overwhelmingly white feminist space is not welcoming to people of color. I don’t have a solution for the white supremacy that permeates my environment but listening to women of color in a space that should be theirs seems like a good first step.

An Anniversary Date that Should Go Away: The Hyde Amendment

Candace Gibson, Resident Blogger (’12, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law)

I first learned about the Hyde Amendment as an undergraduate student and then tinkered with it academically as a law student.  I began to wonder if the Hyde Amendment could be argued as a violation of international human rights law, but that’s for another blog post.   I understood Hyde as a step in the wrong direction for access to abortion care in this country but didn’t really grasp its human impact until I became a LSRJ Fellow at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

The Hyde Amendment is approved each year by politicians in Congress as part of the annual budget process contrary to the popular belief that it is settled law.  This provision in the budget is a total ban on insurance coverage of abortion care for women who qualify and enroll in Medicaid with the exceptions of life endangerment, rape, and incest.   Unfortunately, Hyde has played with women’s lives over the years as it has arbitrarily expanded or limited its scope of restrictions on access to insurance coverage for abortion care.

I’m sure Henry Hyde, the conservative Congressman who proposed the amendment , knew that low-income women would be disproportionately impacted by this measure.  He even said so in a Congressional debate:  “I certainly would like to prevent, if I could legally, anybody having an abortion: a rich woman, a middle-class woman or a poor woman. Unfortunately, the only vehicle available is the… Medicaid bill.”

However, he may or may have not realized that low-income Latinas would be negatively impacted by the amendment. One in three Latinos/as are uninsured and one in four Latinas live in poverty, meaning that many Latinas will be denied the health care they need just because they obtained their insurance through the federal government.  As Medicaid expansion continues, even more Latinas may be subject to this ban.  To make matters worse, the Hyde Amendment only exacerbates the severe health disparities and barriers to abortion care that Latinas currently experience.  These include lack of transportation to see health care providers, lack of linguistically and culturally competent providers, and lack of immigration status.

If you think that all women should have real, meaningful access to abortion care regardless of their source of insurance coverage, join the All Above All campaign.