politics

Abortion Rights Are Shrinking In America And Latinas Are Not Keeping Quiet

@BeautifulToriee / Twitter

The last week has been earth-shattering for women, non-binary, and trans-masculine people across the United States, with eight states at the time of publication having passed near-total bans on abortion. It has been 42 years since the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade gave child-bearing people across America the right to safe access to legal abortion. Every single one of these bills challenges Roe v. Wade for a reason.

Since the appointment of Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh, the Court has been tipped toward a conservative majority for the first time in decades. While the bans don’t go into effect for another six months, we expect to find out whether the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade or maintain its precedence during that time.

For now, Latinas are pissed.

@AOC / Twitter

There are a variety of different laws that we’ve seen come out of these red states, ranging from a zero exception policy that would force victims of rape to carry to term, to requiring a notarized consent form for abortion from the fetus’ father. Latinas have taken to Twitter to break it down.

These bans are going into affect in states with the most rapidly growing Latinx populations.

@xCobbx / Twitter

Deputy Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) told POPSUGAR, “It is worrisome and in particular because Alabama and Georgia are among the states with the most rapidly growing Latinx populations, so we know our communities will be directly impacted by these laws.”

Nearly one in every four women has an abortion by age 45, according to the American Journal of Health in 2017.

@amrezy / Twitter

This isn’t a post about why women have abortions. Its nobodies business why someone chooses the procedure. Latinxs are no exception to the majority opinion that the state shouldn’t be passing laws to restrict the rights of child-bearing people.

According to NLIRH, 67% of Latinx voters do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned.

@ryaddabbo / Twitter

Meanwhile, 82% believe that the government shouldn’t interfere with a women’s decision about abortion. “We also know that when it comes to contraception, data shows that many religious Latinx support it even if their church leaders take a different position,” associate director of Latino media and communications at Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Johanny Adames, told POPSUGAR. “The majority of Latinas, including Catholic Latinas, not only support the use of contraception and affordable access to it, they also use it themselves.”

For Latinx immigrants, the barriers are even higher.

@JamilSmith / Twitter

Many Latinx understand that these bans only serve to hurt our community. What we know to be true about these restrictions is that they disproportionately affect low-income people of color who are forced to travel long distances and pay high costs to obtain abortion care. People with means will always seek abortion care somewhere else. And undocumented Latinx immigrants, many of whom cannot travel for fear of detention and deportation, have even fewer options.

Maria Elena Perez, Deputy Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), POPSUGAR

So Latinas are fighting back.

@CanelaRoey / Twitter

This Tuesday, protestors nation wide are taking to the streets to fight against the bans. Some are pointing out the holes in the pro-life argument…

Like, if a fetus is a person, shouldn’t the father begin paying child support once the heartbeat is heard?

@AlfredoFlores / Twitter

And why are women being forced to raise a child when a man can just walk away? Probably because men are creating these laws in the first place.

In a climate inundated with lies, reporting has failed to stay vigilant in keeping both sides honest.

@andreagonram / Twitter

Refinery29 correspondent Andrea González-Ramírez has reported on Trump’s false claims–like at a Michigan rally in March when he falsely claimed, “In recent months the Democratic party has also been aggressively pushing extreme late-term abortion, allowing children to be ripped from their mother’s womb right up until the moment of birth.” She believes this extreme rhetoric is part of his campaign strategy to win the White House again in 2020.

Ultimately, this isn’t about fetuses. It’s about controlling women.

@bobcesca_go / Twitter

There’s no question that this issue is highly controversial. Latinos are pointing out the flaws in the argument for state-mandated restrictions around reproductive rights.

Because abortions aren’t going to stop once they are banned.

@kissyhx / Twitter

They are going to become more dangerous to receive, and poorer communities of color are going to pay the price. The majority of people who have abortions are people of color.

In 1976, the Hyde Amendment was passed, which prevents public health insurance coverage of abortion.

@Rewire_News / Twitter

The first woman to die from an unsafe illegal abortion after Hyde was Latina. Her name was Rosie Jimenez, and like many Latinas and POC, she couldn’t afford private insurance or pay out of pocket for a legal procedure.

The same states with restrictive abortion laws also limit consent.

@anxietywashere / Twitter

North Carolina has not passed a restrictive abortion law yet, but the House is holding a vote this week to override Gov. Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 359, the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. If that happens, it would encroach on a doctor’s scope to provide care to their patient and would affirm POTUS’ unbacked belief that fetuses are surviving abortions and doctors are murdering them in hospitals.

Alabama has passed the most restrictive abortion law, called the “heartbeat” bill, and Ohio has followed suit.

@AOC / Twitter

That means that abortion becomes illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically around six to seven weeks into the pregnancy. That’s just two weeks after a woman might have missed her period. That means if an Alabaman woman missed her period and notices, she has just two weeks to decide whether to abort the fetus, take time off work, gather the funds, schedule the appointment and pray they don’t hear a beat.

Doctors in Alabama could go to prison for life for performing abortions after the fetal heartbeat has been detected.

@AOC / Twitter

The minimum sentence would be ten years. Typically, when something is criminalized in the U.S., the participants are punished–with probation, prison sentences, or other court orders.

While many pro-life advocates don’t want to see women go to prison for abortions, Indiana doctors are already at risk for losing their licenses.

@AOC / Twitter

In Indiana, doctors are required to fill out an extensive form once a pregnancy is terminated. They must list the number of previous abortion procedures performed as well as the father’s name. In 2014, Attorney General Greg Zoeller filed a complaint against Dr. Klopfer for failing to name the father and last recorded period.

Plus, some states in the U.S. are already criminalizing women for having abortions.

@g0ddamnitmama / Twitter

Indiana woman, Purvi Patel, took an abortion pill, rather than having a procedure. In Indiana, while self-managing your abortion with a pill is perfectly safe to do so without a provider present, it is not legally safe. Patel was prosecuted and jailed after she went to the hospital thinking she needed medical attention after taking the pill.

Meanwhile, #Latinos4GunReform are shook to see how quickly the U.S. could ban abortion before guns.

@inmybadblood / Twitter

How is this pro-life? And why are gun advocates so hell-bent on proving that bans don’t work, and then turn around and ban abortions? While a ban on guns would actually limit companies from producing certain weapons, abortion bans don’t limit sex. They limit abortions.

In the meantime, here’s a friendly reminder:

@naylia3 / Twitter

It’s a scary world, and these jokes just aren’t going to land when half the population’s body is frozen in fear. 🙃

You can do something about it.

@RachelRGonzalez / Twitter

If you live in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio or Utah, call your representatives. Express your outrage. Leave a voicemail. Tomorrow, leave another one.

If we do nothing, we become Gilead.

@BeautifulToriee / Twitter

One anti-abortion organization already tweeted out, “There are 2,000,000+ infertile couples hoping to adopt newborns, but a severe lack of children because they are being killed before birth. We must reject the violence of abortion & embrace the life-affirming gift of adoption.”

Close to 300 people liked the idea of forcing fertile women to give birth for infertile couples. It’s painstakingly hard, in the midst of so many issues under attack, but we must stay vigilant.

READ: Latinas Raged Outside Of The Supreme Court To Fight Back At Recent Abortion Bans That Are Unconstitutional

Queer Latinas: California Is Considering Funding for Lesbian, Bisexual, And Queer Health

Things That Matter

Queer Latinas: California Is Considering Funding for Lesbian, Bisexual, And Queer Health

@pride / Instagram

If you’re a Lesbian, Bisexual or Queer (LBQ) Latina woman, you might not have given our invisibility in health equity much thought. As in every civil rights movement, women always come second to men, and people of color take the tail end of achieving meaningful justice. The facts are that LBQ women are facing challenges in getting healthcare, receiving nondiscriminatory healthcare and adequate mental health services that straight women do not face.

California is set to become the very first state in the nation to balance the scales as it consider the Lesbian, Bisexual & Queer Women’s Health Equity Fund in a budget proposal to be decided on by June 1.

If this makes you angry, it’s time to speak out.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

We only have a couple weeks until Governor Newsom signs off on California’s budgetary proposal for the next year. He, and other deciding members of California Congress need to know that Californians care about LBQ women.

An estimated 2 million of Californians identify as LBQ women.

@vanessadearest / Instagram

And our population is suffering. How many of your queer Latina friends can you think of that aren’t abusing drugs or alcohol, haven’t faced discrimination by a healthcare provider, or can actually afford health insurance? How many of us are suffering from untreated depression or anxiety as a result of a lifetime of discrimination?

Full disclosure: I’m the one holding the husky plushy.

LA LGBT Center

I started volunteering with “The Resistance Squad” at the Los Angeles LGBT Center while I was still closeted, on an obvious search for self discovery. Today, mi gente are still teaching me about myself.

When the Center first started lobbying for this project, I couldn’t believe the statistics I was reading. I could put a face to every single statistic. Here’s what I’m talking about:

Compared to straight women, LBQ women are half as likely to get pap smears and mammograms.

@pride / Instagram

At the Center, we delved deep into our own stories and shared. I heard Latina women sharing horror stories. After one woman disclosed her orientation to their OB/GYN, the doctor became immediately uncomfortable and refused to give her a breast exam.

That means that when breast and ovarian cancers are caught, they’re much more likely to be more advanced than straight women.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

This one story and others like it, compounded, have led to higher predicted rates of breast and ovarian cancer for LBQ women compared to straight women. People are dying.

Latina LBQ women are at even higher risk.

@outmagazine / Instagram

According to the National Institutes of Health, Latina LBQ women have higher rates of smoking, acute drinking, disability and poorer general health than straight Latina women. On top of that, we’re more likely to report frequent mental distress, which the researchers concluded were a result from “the cumulative risk of doubly disadvantaged statuses.”

There are 135% higher rates of psychological distress in older LBQ women than older straight women.

@68BEARS / Twitter

Every gay Latina I know, including myself, is screaming this at their Catholic parents on the regular. The NIH study also reports that Latina women who “violate conventional feminine norms” in our culture experience additional stressors. Preach.

LBQ women are also 150 percent more likely to binge drink than straight women.

@thewifeyadventures / Instagram

While that is certainly dangerous for our physical health, it also reflects on the mental health of our community. I think of the vast majority of people I love who are in recovery or still suffering from addiction, and can’t understand why nobody is paying attention.

Oh, and why can’t any doctor tell the lesbians, bisexuals and queeros how to practice safe sex?

@crazyexgalpal / Instagram

It’s infuriating to go to an OB/GYN and ask questions like: Can I spread this yeast infection to my partner? Can she spread it to me? How do I protect myself? The doctor almost always is thinking on the spot the answer to these questions for the first time, with no real answer.

The LBQ Health Equity Fund would provide training to healthcare providers to provide culturally appropriate healthcare for millions of marginalized Californians.

@outmagazine / Instagram

It’s partially not their fault. There is little to no research on LBQ sexual health. A percentage of the LBQ Health Equity Fund would address the gaps in research targeting LBQ women’s health needs and to inventory existing programs.

1 in 2 LBQ women have experienced discrimination in a healthcare setting, myself included.

Danielli Marzouca

A few years back, I took off work and hauled my nalga over to an expensive specialist to get to the bottom of my illness. Today, I know I have an immune deficiency disorder. Back then, when the doctor was reading her questionnaire and I outed myself, all diagnostics stopped. She assumed I was HIV positive and spent 45 minutes educating me on what my life would be like, what medications I would take, and that she didn’t really know how I would practice safe sex.

If I were a straight woman, I wouldn’t have spent the next few years avoiding doctors, staying constantly sick and calling out of work.

Danielli Marzouca

I had an incredible opportunity to tell my story to California legislators. I was two weeks into a bad cold, and as I write this, I’m still sick. I had a lapse in health insurance, and as grateful to have insurance now, I still can’t afford the treatment I need to stay reasonably healthy. I am not unique. These statistics are reflected in the entire LBQ women community.

All of these issues are nuanced, and difficult to understand how to treat.

MafeMel / Facebook

The problem is systemic. Our community is invisible to the California Department of Public Health. So what’s the solution? Get visible. Get loud.

The LGBT Center organized our voices and hand delivered hundreds of personal letters to California legislators this month.

LGBT Center / Facebook

It was an empowering day to sit down and truly reflect on all how I had been impacted by the statistics I was reading. It became so clear to all of us that our community is barely scraping by. We need help.

A few of us flew up to Sacramento to share our stories with legislators.

Danielli Marzouca

Meet Joey Hernández (left), the LA LGBT Center’s Policy and Mobilization Manager and the Leslie Knope of all things to do with this issue. Like any good mami, they randomly had Zicam and tissues on hand.

But they need to hear your stories.

Danielli Marzouca

Almost every single legislator I spoke with was shocked to hear that our community’s literal health was struggling. Please, if you have a story you wan’t heard, only you can do that.

Call Senator Holly Mitchell at (916) 651-4030.

@hollyjmitchell / Twitter

She is the chair on the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review and her vote is crucial in the next few days. You can also email her here.

Most likely, you’ll only need to leave a voicemail or talk to one of her staffers. You can simply state that you want the Senator to vote in favor of the Lesbian, Bisexual and Queer Women’s Health Equity Fund, or also share your story.

Okay, now, call Assembly Member Phil Ting at (916) 319-2019.

@philting / Instagram

He’s on the Assembly Committee on Budget, and we think his vote may sway this thing. Remember, these guys work for us, but they’re so far removed from our community, they need us to tell them why they should care.

Remember, we already have a model for success with both gay men’s health and trans health in California.

@lgbtpr / Instagram

After the government started making systemic changes to address the HIV crisis as an issue of public health, we’ve seen incredible strides in both research and culturally appropriate healthcare for gay men. LBQ women deserve a thoughtful eye into the issues that are truly shortening our lives.

Live in Los Angeles and like this feeling? Join the Resistance Squad!

Los Angeles LGBT Center / Facebook

There’s so much you can do to get involved. Ask your comadre to call Senator Mitchell and Assembly Member Ting, too. Share this page with your crew and get the conversation going. The only way out of these issues is through them. Pa’lante!

READ: Isabella Gomez From ‘One Day At A Time’ Is Humbled To Be An Icon To The Latinx LGBTQ Community

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