Fierce

When Abortion Meets Immigration: How I Help The Undocumented Obtain An Abortion

In recent years, there has been an uptick of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. These young people take on this punishing journey in hopes of a safer life in the states, so once they present themselves at an official U.S. port of entry, they are placed in a temporary shelter.

The federal government is legally required to provide housing, food, and medical care to these unaccompanied minors, as per a legal decision called the Flores Agreement. However, providing contraception and abortion care as required was one of the first things to go as the current Administration began to disregard Flores, and now recent news reports indicate young people are being denied basic necessities as well.

During the intake process, all minors undergo a medical exam that includes a pregnancy test and then options counseling is supposed to be done with the pregnant minors.

CREDIT: Irma Garcia

Due to former shelter policies, mostly at shelters with religious affiliations, they were not always able to provide, refer, or in any way facilitate access to contraceptives and abortion services. We also know that young people who want to continue their pregnancy are not provided the trauma-informed care they need, and often receive care from a doctor who does not speak their language.

In 2017, the #JusticeForJane campaign swept the country as the Trump Administration attempted to block a 17-year-old Central American immigrant minor, referred to as “Jane Doe” for anonymity, from obtaining an abortion in Texas.

Jane had already gotten a judicial bypass to have the abortion without parental consent with the help of Jane’s Due Process (JDP), a Texas non-profit that provides legal representation and practical support for pregnant minors. The federal government’s Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) refused to allow her to use the bypass and forced her to go to a crisis pregnancy center for anti-abortion, religious-based counseling. They were also set on not transporting her to the abortion clinic, and refused to release her to her court-assigned attorney and guardian, stating that it would be facilitating abortion. The shelter claimed these orders were coming from ORR, contrary to the stated policies around abortion on their website and in the Flores settlement. In 2008, George W. Bush issued a policy that allowed “heightened involvement” from ORR in crucial cases like abortion, but in 2017, that policy was reinterpreted to prohibit any type of facilitation for an unaccompanied minor to access abortion care. Jane Doe’s judicial bypass lawyers and JDP contacted the ACLU, who then filed a lawsuit against the federal government regarding ORR’s new, ad hoc policy that prohibited facilitating abortion for unaccompanied minors, on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Jane was adamant that she wanted an abortion, and after a month of obstruction by the Trump Administration, she was finally able to get it. The ACLU sought class certification for her case, meaning that she could be a representative of all unaccompanied minors in a similar situation. As of last month, she won: a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump Administration cannot block unaccompanied minors in federal custody from getting an abortion.

While having the federal government block access to an abortion clinic is an unusual barrier, all of our clients face barriers to abortion access.

This starts with the parental consent law that requires young people who cannot get parental consent for an abortion to go in front of a judge for permission to obtain an abortion. Jane’s Due Process was founded in 2001 when the first parental involvement law for a minor seeking an abortion in Texas went into effect. Since its founding, the organization has supported thousands of young people in Texas to obtain an abortion and access birth control without parental involvement, and has provided information about reproductive and sexual health decision-making to young people and those who support them across the state. The reasons for not notifying a parent about these reproductive health decisions vary–from knowing that parents will force them to give birth to fear of abuse to parents not being a part of that person’s life. Regardless of the reason, my role is to make sure that every person who calls us seeking an abortion can obtain one, even with the socioeconomic barriers (transportation, money, lack of communication platforms, support system, etc.) that are present.

In the cases of ORR Janes, shelters are required to reach out to me as soon as the unaccompanied minor mentions that she is interested in terminating her pregnancy.

At that point, I speak with the minor to get a sense of her situation, and then reach out to clinics and local attorneys to set her appointments. This process is usually strenuous due to most ORR shelters being in the southern part of Texas, which only has one abortion clinic (procedures up to 17 weeks) and limited doctor availability. Once an attorney meets with the minor, the bypass application gets filed and a hearing date is set. Between these dates, I am in constant communication with Jane to prep for her hearing. She then goes before a judge to prove that obtaining an abortion is in her best interest or that she’s mature enough to make the decision to terminate. Once the bypass gets approved, I reach out to the clinic to notify and set her appointments. Then, I reach out to abortion funds to cover her abortion costs and lastly, confirm with the shelter that transportation is set. In the rare case I receive pushback, I reach out to our legal counsel and the ACLU for support in clarifying policies and reiterating the constitutional rights that unaccompanied minors have regarding abortion care.

It is important to remember that when a young person becomes pregnant within a conservative or capitalist state that never provided the appropriate sex education in the first place, it is not the young person’s fault. Abortion is a constitutional right, no matter your immigration status, and the organization I work with continues fighting to make sure each young person’s right to an abortion is protected and accessible.

Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

Fierce

Hand Sanitizer Was Invented By A Latina Nursing Student In The 1960s

Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash | Twitter

When the novel coronavirus COVID-19 started to spread in the U.S., hand sanitizer became a hot commodity. Stores sold out of the product needed to clean your hands while on the go to prevent catching and spreading the virus. But, did you know that a Latina nursing student in the 1960s created hand sanitizer?

Lupe Hernandez, a nursing student in California in 1966, is the woman behind hand sanitizer.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

Hernandez was in nursing school in Bakersfield, California when she thought about a gel form of rubbing alcohol. Hernandez realized that a gel form of alcohol would make it possible for people to clean their hands while on the go with no access to water and soap.

Hernandez knew she was on to something so she reached out to an invention hotline and submitted a patent.

While washing your hands is the best way to avoid contracting COVID-19, hand sanitizer is an important tool for those that still have to work. It is also a good option for people who are still healthy but have to go to the pharmacy, grocery store, or bank.

Hand sanitizer was just an industry product until the H1N1 viral outbreak in 2009.

Credit: Kelly Sikkema / Unsplash

The 2009 outbreak of H1N1 drove up the demand for hand sanitizer among the public and it was soon packaged for consumers. According to The Guardian, the value of the hand sanitizer market has grown exponentially since the time before and after the H1N1 scare.

In 2018, the global hand sanitizer market value was $2.6 billion. The Guardian reports that the U.S. market value of hand sanitizer was $28 million in 2002 and $80 million in 2006.

Viral outbreaks like H1N1 make hand sanitizer a highly-prized commodity and some people try to profit off that fear.

Matt Colvin faced severe backlash after he and his brother bought out thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer in Tennessee and Kentucky after the first COVID-19 death in the U.S. The two covered 1,300 miles driving through Tennessee and Kentucky buying all of the hand sanitizers they could find in various dollar stores.

The brothers then started selling the hand sanitizer on Amazon for as much as $70 a bottle. Amazon shut them down and the attorney general of Tennessee launched an investigation into them for price gouging. They pledged to donate the product and Tennessee officials are making sure they follow through with the promise.

READ: American Cities And States Announce Mass Closures As They Brace For The Growing COVID-19 Outbreak

American Cities And States Announce Mass Closures As They Brace For The Growing COVID-19 Outbreak

Things That Matter

American Cities And States Announce Mass Closures As They Brace For The Growing COVID-19 Outbreak

Governor Andrew Cuomo / Mayor Eric Garcetti / Facebook

A number of states and cities across the U.S. are taking drastic measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. Bars, restaurants, movie theaters, concert venues, gyms, and schools are all shutting down to limit the spread of the virus that has infected more than 179,000 people globally. The death toll for COVID-19 in the U.S. continues to climb as more cases are discovered. Major cities are taking the virus seriously and taking extra steps to keep their residents safe and healthy.

COVID-19 has been detected in 49 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.

There are currently more than 3,200 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. with more than 70 deaths reported. Most of the deaths have occurred in long-term care facilities in Washington state among elderly people. California, New York, Florida, Louisiana, New Jersey, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Virginia have also reported deaths from the novel coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Trump’s COVID-19 response task force, doesn’t doubt that we are still waiting for the peak of infections and deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19.

“Well, it’s certainly going to get worse before it gets better and the kinds of mitigation strategies, containment, and mitigations that you’re talking about, is to do that kind of physical separation of people, which is one of the very effective ways you really mitigate the spread of the virus,” Dr. Fauci, an official with the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said on ABC. ” If you look at the pattern of viruses, particularly these kinds of viruses, and even look at what’s gone on in China and in Italy and in South Korea, you go along like this the way we were then you have this big spike that goes way up. Then after a while, after much disease and suffering and death, it comes back down again.”

Dr. Fauci added: “The purpose of the mitigation is to get that peak and to blunt it so that it’s a bit of a hill as opposed to a mountain. We’re at a critical point now, more in some regions of the country than in others, the kinds of things that are going on will hopefully make that blunting of that peak so that we can save a lot of lives and save a lot of illness.”

Major cities across the U.S. are shutting down businesses and telling residents to self-isolate to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Update on COVID-19 Response from Mayor Eric Garcetti

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, I’m taking executive action to temporarily close bars, nightclubs, restaurants (except takeout/delivery), entertainment venues, and other establishments in the city of Los Angeles. These orders go into effect at midnight tonight and will stay in place until March 31 unless extended. There is no food shortage and grocery stores will remain open. We’re taking these steps to help protect Angelenos, limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and avoid putting a dangerous strain on our health care system. This will be a tough time, but it is not forever. Angelenos have always risen to meet difficult moments, and we will get through this together.———————————————————Para ayudar a prevenir la propagación de COVID-19, estoy tomando medidas ejecutivas para cerrar temporalmente los bares, discotecas, restaurantes (excepto comida para llevar / a domicilio), lugares de entretenimiento y otros establecimientos en la ciudad de Los Ángeles. Estas órdenes entrarán en vigor a la medianoche de esta noche y permanecerán vigentes hasta el 31 de marzo al menos que se extiendan. No hay escasez de alimentos y los supermercados permanecerán abiertas. Estamos tomando estos pasos para ayudar a proteger a los Angelinos, limitar la propagación del nuevo coronavirus y evitar una tensión peligrosa en nuestro sistema de atención médica.Este será un momento difícil, pero no es para siempre. Los Angelinos siempre se han levantado para enfrentar momentos difíciles, y lo superaremos juntos.

Posted by Mayor Eric Garcetti on Sunday, March 15, 2020

West Virginia, Washington D.C., Virginia, Ohio, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Michigan, Florida, Washington state, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arizona, North Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois, Los Angeles, New York City, and San Diego have all shut down schools.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Sunday night that entertainment venues, gyms, fitness studios, bars, movie theaters, and nightclubs would be closed until March 31. Bars and restaurants can only serve take-out orders in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf expanded measures to the rest of the state to halt the spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Tom Wolf called on the state to close all nonessential government offices and putting a stop to all nonessential business. Health experts are calling for Americans to do a better job od self-isolating and hunkering down to prevent COVID-19 from spreading further.

“This isn’t a decision that I take lightly at all,” Gov. Wolf told the press during a briefing. “It’s one that I’m making because medical experts believe it is the only way we can prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed by patients.”

Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York joined together to pass similar lockdown provisions to tackle COVID-19 together.

‘”Our primary goal is to slow the spread of #Coronavirus so that the wave doesn’t crash our healthcare system,” Gov. Cuomo tweeted. “Social distancing is the best way to do that. I have called on the federal gov’t to implement nationwide protocols, but in their absence we are taking this on ourselves.”

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered all hospitals to cancel elective surgeries, closed senior city centers, and postponed an election in Queens. Visitors are also no longer to go to Rikers Island.

Health experts are urging all Americans to take the necessary steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.

Social distancing and self-isolation are important tools Americans can utilize to make sure the COVID-19 outbreak is curbed. It is going to be a very tough time for millions of Americans who are hunkering down and waiting not the next few weeks as the global community tries to get this virus under control. Everyone has a part to play. Now’s the time.

READ: Navarro College Cheerleaders Of ‘Cheer’ Face Dayton Competition Cancellation Over Coronavirus