Things That Matter

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

After a wave of near-total abortion bans from a staggering eight states in the last few weeks, more than 400 events were planned for a national day of action on Tuesday, and Latinas showed out. A 2018 National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) survey showed that more than half of Latinas can imagine a situation in which abortion could be the right choice for them or their partner. That’s probably because healthcare access is consistently more difficult for women of color, including much-needed birth control to prevent abortions. According to NLIRH, four in ten Latino voters under age 45 have gone without birth control they wanted in the last two years because of access issues.

The research is there. The bans will most significantly impact impoverished communities and women of color. Here’s how Latinas showed up to protest the wave of abortion restrictions that are setting women’s health rights back.

More than 400 protesters appeared outside the Supreme Court on a Tuesday in anger.

@ACLU / Twitter

Since President Trump appointed two conservative justices to SCOTUS, anti-abortion activists are seeing a clearer path to overturning Roe v. Wade. Alabama is the most extreme with a total ban on abortion after six weeks before most women know they are pregnant, with no exception for rape and incest.

Abortion rights activists are once again sharing their personal stories to the public, in hopes to rally allies.

The threat to abortion access is causing women across the country to share their own abortion stories. For years, women were dying in the U.S. as they sought out dangerous abortions because of restrictions on the medical procedure. Now, women are fearful that we are going back to a time where women will die again trying to access abortions.

Four states passed laws that ban abortion after a detected heartbeat–something that happens before most women even know they’re pregnant.

@ACLU / Twitter

For marginalized women and non-binary folks, the ability to detect a missed period, take off work, for both the abortion and transportation to a clinic are nearly insurmountable in such a short amount of time. Many argue that these laws are effectively total abortion bans, which Roe V Wade deemed unconstitutional. This is disproportionately going to impact poor women and women of color in greater numbers.

Alabama’s law does not even include exceptions for rape or incest and women are ready to fight back.

@AlinaTelesur / Twitter

“Una de las más de 400 protestas contra la prohibición al aborto se desarrolla en la Corte Suprema de Justicia en Washington DC” @AlinaTelesur tweeted. “‘Mi cuerpo, mis decisiones,’ ‘el aborto es un derecho,’ ‘dejen de prohibir el aborto’ son algunas de las consignas que se corean aquí. #StopTheBans – at Supreme Court of the United States.”

Missouri’s Legislature passed a bill banning abortions at eight weeks, not yet signed by the governor.

@katto_4 / Twitter

“Tell the anti-rights extremists to stop,” @katto_4 tweeted. “For Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S., abortion is a human right. #StopThebans #AbortoLegal @IntlWomen.”

Many of the bans won’t go into effect until January 2020 but the fight has already started.

@NLIRH / Twitter

Organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) are fighting to ensure it never goes into effect. It will all come down to a conservative-leaning Supreme Court decision and abortion advocates are nervous at the prospect of the Supreme Court hearing the case.

Abortion access is an immigration issue as well.

@votolatino / Twitter

We’ve seen teenagers and women migrants in detention centers being denied abortions. The migrants, who are fleeing sexual violence and are often carrying the product of rape, have been barred, and in some cases, almost forced to carry the fetus to term.

Abortion is gearing up to become a key issue for 2020 elections.

@gescol / Twitter

Georgia is adding punishment for women who miscarry or leave the state for an abortion. We have seen real-world examples of the damage these Draconian penalties have on women. Women in El Salvador could faces decades in jail for a miscarriage, which is an unfortunate and traumatic side effect of some abortions.

The women who showed up yesterday are fighting to ensure it stays that way.

@NLIRH / Twitter

Abortion rights activists want to ensure that they see and hear from their representatives on where they stand. This divisive issue, which has left many Republicans in a moderate to conservative stance, may change as voters continue to place pressure. We saw what pressure on healthcare did to protect Americans’ right access to affordable healthcare.

For now, the poderosas fighting for abortion rights are making their voices heard.

@gmg_az / Twitter

Holding your government accountable and fighting for what you think is right and what the government should do is what being patriotic is all about.

Regardless where you stand, they’re sharing their intimate stories on a stigmatized issue.

@VotoLatino / Twitter

These gente are laying it all out on the line to ensure the media and the public speak up on this issue, and to ensure democracy reigns. Gracias.

READ: #YouKnowMe Is The Viral Hashtag Latinas Are Using To Tell Their Freeing Abortion Stories After Alabama Lawmakers Passed One Of The Most Extreme Abortion Bans In The Country

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Evelyn Hernandez – A Rape Survivor – Was Imprisoned Under Anti-Abortion Laws, Now She’s A Free Woman

Things That Matter

Evelyn Hernandez – A Rape Survivor – Was Imprisoned Under Anti-Abortion Laws, Now She’s A Free Woman

Oscar Rivera / Getty Images

It’s no secret that countries across Latin America have some of the strictest abortion laws in the world – El Salvador is no exception. In fact, it’s the only known country that that regularly prosecutes and imprisons women as a result of its abortion ban – even in cases where the women suffered  miscarriages, stillbirths and other obstetric emergencies.

But over the last decade, activists, lawyers, and international women’s groups have rallied behind Salvadoran women imprisoned for “obstetric emergencies.” Since 2009, more than 38 women have been released from jail, 16 remain incarcerated, and at least three — including Evelyn Hernandez — are in the middle of legal proceedings.

Evelyn Hernandez, of El Salvador, has been found innocent after a retrial.

Evelyn Hernandez’s case had made international headlines when she was tried for homicide charges after experiencing a stillbirth – when she didn’t even know she was pregnant.

But after years of maintains her innocence of any wrongdoing, Hernandez has finally been found innocent by El Salvador’s judicial system.

“I was made the victim of a justice system that is anything but just. I know that there are countless other women who have experienced the same in a country where miscarriages are still considered a crime and reproductive rights are nonexistent. We must stand up and demand that the Salvadoran government release all the remaining women who have been wrongfully put behind bars like me. The fight does not end here,” Hernandez said after the trial.

Her defense attorney added in a tweet, “I am about to explode with happiness.”

Amnesty International described the verdict as a “resounding victory for the rights of women in El Salvador” and called on the government to “end the shameful and discriminatory practice of criminalizing women”.

El Salvador has one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world.

Since 1998, El Salvador has had a complete and total ban on abortion – with zero exceptions – including in cases where the woman’s life is at risk for the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest. In fact, El Salavador is the only known country that regularly prosecutes and imprisons women as a result of its abortion ban – even in cases where the women suffered  miscarriages, stillbirths and other obstetric emergencies.

Typically, women found guilty face between two and eight years in jail but in many cases – as was the case with Evelyn – charges are increased to aggravate homicide, which carries a minimum sentence of 30 years.

Today, more than 20 women are in prison under trumped up charges of manslaughter, homicide, or aggravated homicide after being accused of having an abortion. In total, at least 50 women have been imprisoned.

Evelyn’s case had been in the headlines for years after repeated appeals by prosecutors.

Evelyn’s case started when she was a victim of sexual violence in her community – having allegedly been raped by a gang member at 18-years-old.

She was first arrested after the body of her baby was found on the property of her rural home. Evelyn says she had experienced severe stomach pains and bleeding and went to the toilet, where she passed out. It’s here where her baby was stillborn. But in 2017, a judge ruled that Evelyn knew she was pregnant and tried to conceal the baby’s birth. She was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison, of which she has already served 33 months.

In July 2017, the judge ruled that Ms Hernández knew she was pregnant and found her guilty. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison of which she has already served 33 months.

Evelyn’s lawyers appealed the judge’s decision. They said forensic tests showed that the baby had died of meconium aspiration, inhaling his own stool. This can happen while the baby is still in the uterus, during delivery or immediately after birth. 

The lawyers said the test proved that Evelyn had not tried to abort the baby but that it had died of natural causes. “There is no crime,” defense lawyer Bertha María Deleón said during oral arguments. In 2019, the country’s Supreme Court agreed and annulled Evelyn’s 2017 conviction and ordered a retrial with a new judge.

Evelyn’s case could have a major impact on several other women across the country accused of similar crimes.

Credit: Oscar Rivera / Getty Images

According to human rights experts, there are at least 17 other women who have been jailed under the country’s strict abortion laws. Campaigners have successfully managed to free about 30 other women over the last decade  – after winning hard-fought court cases.

Evelyn’s retrial is the first case to be heard under new President Nayib Bukele, who took office in June, and women’s groups are hoping he could usher in a more lenient stance on the issue. 

President Bukele has said that he opposes abortion but has expressed sympathy with women suffering miscarriages who then come under suspicion.

“If a poor woman suffers a miscarriage, she’s immediately suspected of having had an abortion. That’s where the issue of social inequality comes into play,” he said while he was running for president.

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All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Entertainment

All Of The Documentaries Feminists Should Watch While In Quarantine

Netflix

Just because it might seem as if the world is on pause, it doesn’t mean that our efforts to learn more about it and better ourselves should be.

Documentaries alongside biographies can teach us so much about the world we live in and open our eyes to its complexities, even teaching us about the obstacles we did not know were right in front of us. As women of color, there are so many, and often times we use documentaries to learn about them, so we can better understand how to propel ourselves forward and continue to succeed. To make sure that you do too, we’re rounding up documentaries for you to learn, grow, and build hope from while in quarantine.

Check the documentaries we’re binging now that we’ve got the time below!

Becoming (2020)

Former First Lady Michelle Obama takes an intimate look at her life, relationships, and dreams in this documentary which sees her touring the country while promoting her book Becoming. The New York Times describes the film as showing “a familiar, albeit more carefree, former first lady.”

AKA Jane Roe (2020)

This documentary by Nick McSweeney highlights Norma McCorvey, the woman who made history as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 Supreme Court case Roe vs. Wade. Beyond the shock value of the movie’s twist, which unearths the reasons why McCorvey ultimately turned her back on the movement that advocated for her right to choose, it tells a story about the ruthlessness of political agendas.

Abuelas: Grandmothers On A Mission (2013)

Three decades after Argentinean mothers created a movement demanding Argentinean officials to discover what happened with the sons and daughters who “disappeared” during Argentina’s Dirty War, the grandmothers continue their efforts in this documentary.

Chisholm ’72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004)

The historical documentary follows Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm during her campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination in 1972. It will serve as an impressive reminder of this Black woman’s might and the fight she managed to get us all passionate about.

Honeyland (2019)

This Oscar-nominated film is about a beekeeper in North Macedonia. Directed by Tamara Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov this documentary shows how the beekeeper’s life is affected when the ancient techniques she uses to farm bees are impacted by a new family who moves into the neighborhood and brings modern technology with them.

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise (2016)

African- American poet Maya Angelou has her life depicted in the documentary that dives into her traumatic childhood and her life as a singer and dancer. The first feature documentary includes interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and Common.

Knock Down The House (2019)

This documentary featuring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the league of women who ran for Congress in 2018 including Cori Bush, Paula Jean Swearengin, and Amy Vilela made waves when it first debuted on Netflix. Just as it did for us, we imagine it will give you a whole heck of a lot of hope and pride in the woman who fight for our rights and country.

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