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

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Things That Matter

The Supreme Court’s Term Is Starting Off With Major Cases That Will Impact The Lives Of Many Americans

Molly Adams / Flickr

The nine justices of the Supreme Court will return to the chambers to an explosive docket. The court is set to hear cases covering an array of social issues from abortion to DACA to LGBTQ+ discrimination to the Second Amendment. It is shaping up to be a major term for the highest court in the land.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear a series of cases that could impact some of the biggest social issues in American culture.

Credit: @hshaban / Twitter

All eyes are on the Supreme Court as major cases are being presented. Some of the cases included in the docket for this term of the Supreme Court are the fate of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the definition of “sex” as it pertains to Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act and the LGBTQ community’s right to work without discrimination, an abortion case from Louisiana seeking to limit abortion rights, and a gun regulation from New York City.

On Oct. 8, the Supreme Court heard arguments about discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.

In almost half of the country, there are no laws protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community from being discriminated against in the workplace. The Supreme Court heard arguments from two gay men and one trans woman claiming that they were fired from their places of work because of their identity.

During oral arguments, when the employers being sued in the case argued that sex is different than same-sex attraction, Justice Elena Kagan suggested that the law does favor the employees.

“If he were a woman, he wouldn’t have been fired,” Justice Kagan told General Solicitor Noel Francisco, who is representing the employers. “This is the usual kind of way in which we interpret statutes now. We look to laws. We don’t look to predictions. We don’t look to desires. We don’t look to wishes. We look to laws.”

The Trump administration is aiming to get rid of DACA protections from almost 700,000 young people.

Credit: @SenWarren / Twitter

DACA is a program that was first created by President Obama. It gave almost 700,000 young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the chance to go to college, get work permits, and protected them from deportation. The Trump administration ended the program in 2017 and immediately threw the lives of all DACA recipients in limbo.

United We Dream, a DACA-led media company filed its own brief with the Supreme Court. The brief is a first-of-its-kind video brief with DACA recipients arguing their case for preserving DACA. The organization also included an official written brief.

“DACA has accomplished far more than affording deferred prosecutorial action. It has created lifechanging opportunities for hundreds of thousands of promising young people. DACA has allowed them to lead fuller and more vibrant lives, including by seizing opportunities to advance their education, furthering their careers, providing critical help to their families, and giving back to their communities,” reads the United We Dream brief. “Able to make use of the basic building blocks of a productive life—a Social Security number, work authorization, or driver’s license, for example—DACA recipients have thrived. They are students, teachers, health care workers, first responders, community leaders, and small business owners. They are also spouses, neighbors, classmates, friends, and coworkers. Collectively, they are parents of over a quarter-million U.S. citizens, and 70% of DACA recipients have an immediate family member who is a U.S. citizen. They pay taxes, contribute to their local economies in myriad ways, and spur a virtuous cycle of further opportunity for many Americans.”

Another case people are watching is an abortion case coming out of Louisiana.

Credit: @IlhanMN / Twitter

The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, isn’t aiming to overturn Roe v. Wade but it is hoping to limit the abortion rights of women starting in Louisiana. The law being challenged requires all abortion providers to get privileges are a hospital 30 miles from where the abortions take place.

The case is very similar to a Texas case that the Supreme Court rejected three terms ago. As such, the Louisiana case is asking the Supreme Court to distinguish between the two cases and to determine that the restriction is legitimate if a legislator vouches that the restriction is valid rather than it being valid in practice. As it stands, the law would leave just one doctor in the state of Louisiana allowed to perform abortions.

Another case getting some attention as it sits on the Supreme Court docket deals with the Second Amendment.

Credit: @DaigleLawGroup / Twitter

New York City’s original rule made it so handguns could only be transported to seven gun ranges throughout the city. While the case was originally contested because of the rule. New York City changed the rule and asked the court to dismiss the case as moot, but the court rejected the motion. This will be the first time the Supreme Court has heard a case about the Second Amendment’s reach in over a decade and is being hailed as a victory for gun rights advocates.

READ: DACA Advocates Shut Down Joe Biden At Last Night’s Democratic Debate, Here’s The Message They Delivered Loud And Clear

Mexico’s Oaxaca Becomes The First State to Decriminalize Abortion In A Truly Historic Vote

Things That Matter

Mexico’s Oaxaca Becomes The First State to Decriminalize Abortion In A Truly Historic Vote

@oaxacanewsENG / Twitter

The Mexican state of Oaxaca has legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy. The Oaxaca Congress voted to approve a bill that would legalize the procedure. The stunning decision was colored by protests from both anti-abortion and pro-choice activists who wore green scarves in solidarity. 

This is big news as it is only the second region in the country, after Mexico City (which legalized the procedure in 2007) to do so. The historic moment demonstrates that attitudes are changing and evolving in the largely Roman Catholic country thanks to pro-choice advocates and activists. 

Mexico’s Oaxaca State Legalizes Abortion

The Congress voted 24 in favor, 10 against to legalize abortion in the first 12 weeks of a pregnancy, which is also the general standard in most of the United States.

“We find no negative reasons to disapprove the verdict. There can be moral reasons, but it is urgent to legislate to hinder violence against women,” said Elisa Zepeda Laguna, a legislator of the Morena party and president of the Commission of Justice Pursuit and Administration. 

While President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has avoided taking a clear stance on abortion, the legislation’s passage, comes days after Lopez Obrador said he would grant amnesty to women serving jail terms for abortion. The local Congress which approved the bill is largely dominated by Lopez Obrador’s leftist National Regeneration Movement. 

Mexico’s abortion laws

With the exceptions of the two regions now, abortion is only legal in Mexico in special circumstances. Moreover, those who do have abortions face criminal penalties. The law is extremely sexist and transphobic, it assumes anyone who gets pregnant is a woman, then presumably seeks to slut-shame the hypothetical woman for getting pregnant in the first place.

A person who procures an illegal abortion can be imprisoned for 6 months to 2 years provided they meet these three misogynist criteria: the woman doesn’t have a “bad reputation” (whatever that means), she has been able to conceal her pregnancy, and that the pregnancy was born of an illegitimate relationship. If even one of these criteria is not met, the person faces a higher penalty of one to five years in prison. 

But it’s not just recipients of abortions who face strict laws. Abortion providers can face one to six years in prison. The only exceptions are in cases of rape, pregnancies that put the mother’s health or life at risk, and in the case of serious genetic disorders. 

Abortion is about public health and social justice

Laguna notes that decriminalizing abortion is a broad social issue because it is largely poor and indigenous women who do not have legal access to the procedure. 

“In Oaxaca, abortion is the third cause of maternal death,” said congresswoman Magaly Lopez Dominguez. “No one is in favor of abortion, but of saving the lives of women that have to take that decision.”

Abortions are not only expensive but when women cannot have free and safe access to them, they often attempt to induce one themselves. These attempts often fail, comprising the health of the mother — which will only result in more expensive healthcare costs. Alternatively, women are forced to bear children they cannot afford to raise further trapping them — and their children — in a vicious cycle of poverty. 

You can never really ban abortion

Illegalizing abortions does not stop abortions from happening, it only makes them dangerous for the mother and clogs the legal system. The National Abortion Federation reports that abortion rates in Mexico, though illegal, are much higher than that of the United States. 

“These findings confirm research from other parts of the world – that making abortion illegal does not significantly decrease its frequency, it just makes it unsafe and puts women’s lives at risk,” said Fatima Juarez, lead author of the study.

In 2006, the abortion rate was 40% higher than in the U.S. and this was before it had been legalized anywhere in the country. 

“In Oaxaca a year more than 9,000 women undergo an abortion and according to the latest data, 17 percent are indigenous women under 20,” Natalia Torres, a legal representative of the activist group March 8, told Al Jazeera.

 Between 2013 and 2016, 20 people were sentenced to prison in the region for receiving abortions. 

“In four years, at least 2,184 investigations have been opened for abortion in Mexico. According to official numbers, there are at least 500 cases each year; in January 2018, there were 49 cases registered,” reports El Universal.

Abortion is not controversial 

Abortion is not complicated. Free and safe access to abortion is a human right, as all humans have the right to self-determination, it combats poverty cycles, and keeps the most vulnerable women out of the prison system, saving everyone else tax dollars. 

As the United States moves backward on abortion rights, it is all the more inspiring to see Mexico move forward.