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Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

by Hannah Joseph, NLIRH  Policy Intern

What did January 22nd mean to me as the anniversary of Roe v. Wade?  I am a new policy intern working for NLIRH between semesters in college.  This position represents my first official advocacy position in reproductive rights outside of my college campus.  As part of the cohort of women born after 1973, for me, abortion has always been a protected right and an assumed possibility. Without even having to think critically about whether I would choose to have one myself, I was able to assume that having an abortion would be a possibility for me.  Does this make me “casually pro-choice”?

This question was brought to mind when reading the recent NewsWeek article that identifies a lack of intensity in young pro-choice advocates.  This sentiment is consistent with the common political trope that that young people do not care about reproductive health.  According to a NARAL survey from early 2011, 51 percent of young voters (under 30) who opposed abortion rights considered it a “very important” voting issue, compared with just 26 percent of abortion-rights supporters.  The young respondents did not view abortion as a right in need of defenders.  Does this “intensity gap” mean that the pro-choice movement is losing its young supporters? (more…)

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The results of a new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners on behalf of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and the Reproductive Health Technologies Project have been released, showing strong support for abortion rights amongst Latina/o voters.

“This is a watershed moment for the Latina/o community as it provides, for the first time, hard data which defies long held stereotypes about Latina/os and reproductive health,” said NLIRH Executive Director Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas. “This poll underscores the important role of Latino/as in the national debate about access to reproductive health care.”

Indeed, the poll is groundbreaking, and the results an important affirmation of Latina/o support for reproductive justice issues. Amongst others, important findings from the  poll include:

  • A strong majority – 74% – of Latina/o registered voters agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.
  • Most Latina/o voters seem willing to disagree with church leaders on the legality of abortion, with nearly seven in ten agreeing that abortion should remain legal despite the position of the church.
  • A majority of Latina/o voters agree that money should not determine access to abortion

The findings firmly reject stereotypes of Latina/os as anti-choice or unable to distinguish their political beliefs from their religious affiliation, and should be an important consideration to elected officials trying to capture the ever-growing and powerful Latino vote.

Take a look at the rest of the data from the poll and the methodology behind it at NLIRH’s website!

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As the only national organization advocating for the fundamental human right to reproductive health and justice for Latinas, their families and their communities, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) stands in solidarity with Mississippians who oppose Proposition 26, which would undermine the rights and health of Latinas and all women:  from those wanting to plan and space their pregnancies to women who want to carry their pregnancies to term healthfully.

On Tuesday, November 8th 2011 Mississippians will go to the polls to vote on a proposition that is being described as one of the most serious threats to a woman’s right to make decisions over her reproductive health. Proposition 26, also known as, “The Personhood Amendment” would amend the Mississippi state constitution to include in its definition of “persons” all human beings from the moment of fertilization, cloning or functional equivalent thereof.  Life, under the proposed amendment, would begin at the moment that a human egg is fertilized.

NLIRH recognizes that by defining a fetus as a “person,” and endowing the fetus with the legal rights and privileges of personhood, the state strips away the rights of women to be the central authorities in all decisions about her reproductive health and choices, even in cases when her life is threatened or endangered.

  • Proposition 26 would outlaw abortion, a medically-safe and legal procedure that three in ten U.S. women will obtain by the age of 45, of which 25% are Latina. Abortion is sometimes necessary to protect the life and health of the pregnant woman.
  • Proposition 26 could outlaw the use of many forms of contraception, including “the pill”, intrauterine devices and the morning-after pill.  In fact, many forms of contraception, including “the pill” work to prevent pregnancy by making the uterus inhospitable to a fertilized egg. Latinas already face myriad challenges to accessing birth control; Proposition 26 would reverse whatever rights and access Latinas in Mississippi have to safe and effective methods of contraception.
  • By lifting the fetus’s rights to those of personhood, Proposition 26 complicates a doctor’s oath to protect the life and health of his or her pregnant patient, which can have serious consequences for the patient’s health.
  • Proposition 26 is misguided: the biological reality is that most fertilized eggs never develop into human begins. Granting these entities with legal rights of personhood goes too far.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health advocates for a standard of care that will provide Latinas with options to make decisions about their reproductive health and care: these options must be supported by medically accurate information and free from biased and coercive policies and practices.

Proposition 26 relies on biological and reproductive misinformation to undermine whatever reproductive rights and options Latinas and all women have: rights and options necessary to determine her life’s course, her participation in family and society, and her health.

We urge you to stand with us and Mississippians to vote NO on Proposition 26.

This blog post is part of the HERvotes Mississippi Personhood Amendment Blog Carnival. For more information about Proposition 26 and how to help Mississippi defeat the proposition, please visit Mississippians for Healthy Families.

For more information about the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health here.

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 By Luis Vargas, Community Mobilization Intern

Last week, Pulitzer-Price winner Jose Antonio Vargas declared  that he is an undocumented immigrant in a New York Times piece, and, as expected, the media has been wondering about whether he will be deported.  It’s not so much the scandal that Vargas’ piece has caused in the media that makes the article compelling, but, admirably, because he is the first to come out as an undocumented in such large media platform. His coming out follows in the footsteps of the many in the undocumented youth movement that mobilized around the DREAM Act, and themselves came out of the shadows in regards to their immigration status. But more importantly, his actions show that even individuals can put pressure on the system, even if it can cost you everything.

“I’m done running. I’m exhausted. I don’t want that life anymore,” states Vargas.

Sharing his story was a way to let go of his frustration, but sharing his experiences in this way was also a brave act, a way to put pressure on the immigration system.  If Vargas believes that it is possible to create some kind of change in the immigration policies, or to challenge them, then it can be said that to share one’s stories with the public is one way of showing how easily the immigration system is flawed.

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National Field Organizer at NLIRH Stephanie J. Alvarado has an article in the Huffington Post about why she is Pro-Access.

The word ‘abortion’ is always one that stirs debate. But it shouldn’t. Here’s why.

I was recently asked if I was pro-life, or if I was pro-choice. You know what I answered, “I’m pro-access.” I’m pro-access because terms like ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ are antiquated and assume that all women have a choice to begin with, when in reality, many women have limited access to reproductive health care because so many restrictions are set in place. Women should be supported to actually have a choice to begin with, and the fact that we’re in the 21st century, still having this debate, is something that I find remarkable.

As a 24-year-old proud Latina woman and daughter of immigrants, I am part of the fastest growing demographic in our country. It’s why I’m so passionate about the issue of abortion, and why I devote my days to protecting a women’s legal right to choose in my work with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health — the only national Latina health and reproductive justice organization in the United States.

Some people ask me if I’ve had an abortion, and if that’s what led me to this line of work. To that I respond ‘no,’ but here’s what drew me to devote my time to one of our nation’s most divisive issues. Since I was 14 years old, I have always recognized my agency in fighting for social justice issues in my community. From being a young student organizer until present day, my life has always been connected to fighting for those who are marginalized and underserved. I am motivated and strengthened by the stories that our activists share with me on a daily basis about the constant struggle it is for them to be able to attain quality and affordable reproductive health care. It is a fight faced every day simply because we are women.

Read the full article here.

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After it was reported that a group called Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles is planning on putting up billboards around Los Angeles claiming that “The most dangerous place for a Latino is in the womb,” NLIRH released the following statement denouncing the effort.

“These offensive billboards are nothing more than political ploys designed to stigmatize Latina women and communities of color and restrict access to reproductive health care.

“The organizations promoting these ads are focused on sensationalizing unintended pregnancy and abortion care, and cutting even more women off from the reproductive health care they seek.

“We should be doing all we can to support women making the best personal reproductive health care decisions for themselves and their families.

“As the only national Latina reproductive health and justice organization, we are outraged by these condescending ad campaigns.  These offensive ads have no place in our communities.”

Historically, racial and economic disparities limit quality health care options for Latinas and communities of color, including family planning services. Studies show that African American women and Latinas are more likely to be uninsured or underinsured and often lack basic access to birth control and comprehensive sex education due to fundamental structural inequities in society.

The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health stands in solidarity with other reproductive justice organizations, such as Trust Black Women and California Latinas for Reproductive Justice in condemning this campaign.

Stay tuned for updates about this offensive campaign and ways you can take action.

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By Hilarie Meyers, Development Intern

Since the midterm elections, anti-choice politicians and activists have launched an all-out war on women’s health and reproductive rights. Federally proposed efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and Title X family planning clinics have captured the nation’s attention and aroused activists on both sides of the political debate. However, state-level attacks on women’s health have slipped by relatively unnoticed and actually much more comprehensive and much more likely to have impacts on our access to reproductive health services.

On February 24, Virginia’s legislature passed a law that would increase the state’s regulation of abortion clinics. The law, which was discreetly included as an amendment in another piece of legislation, requires clinics that provide first trimester abortions to be regulated according to the same standards as hospitals. Prior to this new law, clinics providing first trimester abortions were regulated along the same lines as offices providing other outpatient medical procedures, such as cosmetic or plastic surgery, colonoscopies, corrective eye surgery, and sterilization. In his article, “Virginia’s new abortion law to figure in 2011 elections,” Hastings Wyman explains:

While some 44 states have passed regulations on abortion clinics in the past several decades, Virginia’s new law could be the strictest, depending on the recommendations of the state’s Board of Health. Opponents contend that under the regimen, abortion-providing facilities could be required to widen halls (to accommodate two gurneys passing each other), enlarge the size of the room where the abortion procedure is performed, mandate installation of costly equipment not normally used in abortions, and even require food facilities and possibly landscaping.

(more…)

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