Archive for the ‘NLIRH in the News’ Category

Executive Director Silvia Henriquez has an article up at the Huffington Post today:

Are the nation’s efforts to curb Latina teen pregnancy actually making young Latinas more vulnerable?

Myths — rather than realities — have too often guided the public discourse about Latinas and pregnancy. Latina teens don’t have sex more often than their white counterparts and most desire a college education. In addition, despite the demonization of immigrants in recent health care debates, most Latina teen moms are not immigrants. So what is underneath the startling pregnancy statistics?

Compared to white teens, Latina teens have higher pregnancy rates because they use birth control much less often and reject abortion much more often. Religion and family influence are very important factors, but for sexually active Latina teens these are not the only or even most relevant obstacles to birth control usage. For many Latinas, the top barriers to birth control usage are much more mundane: transportation, lack of health insurance or cash for health services, confusing and intimidating immigration regulation for households with a combination of citizens and non-citizens, and lack of guidance about available services. When teen pregnancy prevention programs and messages ignore these obstacles, Latinas become distanced from sex education efforts.

Read the rest here.

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NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez was quoted alongside a number of prominent experts in the wake of Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation as the first Latina Supreme Court Justice.

The Senate confirmation of Judge Sonia Sotomayor heralds a new era of diversity in our courts. Judge Sotomayor offers inspiration for Latinas as her confirmation has challenged stereotypes and demonstrated the growing political power of the Latino community, said Silvia Henriquez, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH). Judge Sotomayor will play a pivotal role in promoting the dignity and well being of our families and our communities. Her confirmation signals hope for not only expanded legal access to abortion but also for expanded social access to the full range of reproductive health care, such as health care funding for poor women. Judge Sotomayors body of work and judicial philosophy reveals a sophisticated analysis of social issues and the important role of the court in safeguarding human dignities.

Sotomayor’s historic appointment to the Supreme Court is symbolic of a new era of Latina power and empowerment. On the week that Judge Sotomayor begins her new role as Supreme Court Justice, NLIRH will host a national ‘Quinceañera’ gala. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to draw on the experiences of our roots, to raise our voices for reproductive justice, and to celebrate our power to create social change for Latinas in the years ahead!

To read the full piece in the Orlando Sentinel, please click here.

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From Hispanic Magazine, June/July 2009, “The New Mommy

A record number of unmarried women in the United States are having babies, and the rate is highest among Hispanic women, according to a new report by the National Center for Health Statistics. Nearly four in 10 births in the U.S. were to unmarried women in 2007, an increase of 26 percent from 2002. In raw numbers, that means about 1.7 million children were born to unwed mothers in 2007, compared to 1.26 million in 2002 and fewer than 400,000 in 1970.

The report showed there were 106 births to every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women, compared to 32 births per 1,000 white non-Hispanic women. The lowest proportion of unmarried births was to Asian women, while blacks fell in the middle, with 72 births per 1,000 women.

With the stigma of unwed motherhood clearly on the decline, Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, deputy director of the National Latina Health Institute, noted it is important not to present single motherhood as a problem. “Women have the right to have children whenever they think this is appropriate for their unique, individual circumstances, whether they’re married or not,” Gonzalez-Rojas says. Most critical is “to have social systems in place that support their decision.”

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NLIRH Executive Director Silvia Henriquez discusses Sotomayor, Roe v. Wade and Latinos’ diverse views on abortion in an op-ed featured in New American Media.

The wide diversity of Latino attitudes on abortion tells us that Judge Sotomayor’s ethnicity does not determine her position on Roe v. Wade. What we do know is that even though Judge Sotomayor’s experience and record have not directly dealt with protecting a woman’s right to choose, she has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to justice, fidelity to legal precedent and utmost respect for the law throughout her career. In her Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearings, she made clear that her future decisions would be bound by legal precedent and clearly articulated her respect for the law established in Roe v. Wade. Judge Sotomayor’s statements were extremely promising indicators of her commitment to women’s reproductive rights.

Read the full piece at New American Media.

By Maria Elena Perez, Director of Community Mobilization

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Women have the right to have children whenever they think this is appropriate for their unique, individual circumstances, whether they’re married or not, and to have social systems in place that support their decision, said Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Deputy Director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.

Read the press release (in English & Spanish) here.

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Liza Fuentes, Senior Research Associate at NLIRH, has an op-ed in El Diario about Bristol Palin and abstinence only education.

Esta semana, los medios celebraron El día de la Prevención del Embarazo en Adolescentes entrevistando a Bristol Palin, madre adolescente e hija de la gobernadora de Alaska Sarah Palin, quien trató de convencer a las y los jóvenes que su caso es ejemplo de porque no tener sexo: no puede salir con sus amigos como antes y perdió la oportunidad de asistir a la universidad fuera de Alaska. Los consejos de Bristol Palin, desgraciadamente, solo logran demostrar que tan desconectada es su campaña de la realidad de la vida de tantos Latinos adolescentes.

Read the rest here.

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Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas, Deputy Director for NLIRH, was mentioned in a recent TAP article about the HPV vaccine and immigrant women.

The piece covered a recent presentation given by Jessica at the Women, Action and the Media conference this past weekend.

The issue of HPV vaccination has been in the news again lately because of recent news that Merck (the company that manufactures the vaccine) is asking for it to be approved for use on boys as well.

For past coverage of the HPV vaccine at NVNV, go here, here and here.

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We have a special guestblogger this week at NVNV, Cecilia Marquez from Swarthmore College. Welcome Cecilia!


On Tuesday Executive Director Silvia Henriquez responded to the New York Time’s article For Privacy’s Sake, Taking Risks to End Pregnancy.  In her response she critiques the author’s stance by clarifying some of the challenges faced by Latina women seeking abortions.

Self-induced abortion does raise questions about women’s experience, but glossing over the challenges of gaining access to abortion services does nothing to answer these questions. It neither reflects the reality of abortion delivery nor the reality of women’s lives.

Silvia outlines some of the structural barriers for Latina women accessing abortions.  She discusses how expensive this procedure is as well as challenges the notion that availability of abortions is “widespread,” especially for women not living in urban areas.  She also highlights the fact that many women in fact would “have preferred an earlier procedure” but were financially unable to.

I think it is incredibly important to highlight some of the ways that abortion has been made completely inaccessible to women, especially working-class women. 

As we approach the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade it is important to think about new ways to make sure that a woman’s right to an abortion is both protected and accessible to all women.


Read the whole letter to the editor here.

Contributed by Cecilia Marquez

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Catholics for Choice are happy to share the wonderful news that Univision has decided to run our Condoms4Life radio ads. We emailed all of you last week, urging you to take action and ask the President and COO of Univision Radio to run these important advertisements. The Spanish-language ads, which you can listen to here and here, talk about the importance of condom use within communities of faith. We are thrilled that Univision has agreed to play the ads which will air over the holidays on Univision stations in New York City.

When Univision Radio refused to run our ads on three of their NYC stations, we asked you all to get involved. You took action in impressive numbers, sending emails to Gary Stone with the message that this kind of censorship was unacceptable and that these messages are key to keeping our community safe. We want to thank all of you for taking action, especially those who passed the message along to their friends and family. A number of blogs also posted about this issue, further spreading the action.

Gary listened to you! We have the activism of the Latino community and our allies to thank for this win and Univision to thank for doing the right thing. We want to recognize Univision for listening to the resounding message you all sent last week-that the message Good Catholics Use Condoms deserved to be heard. NLIRH and Catholics for Choice will share a message of appreciation to Univision on behalf of all of us for listening to our concerns.

Thanks again for all your hard work and support. To keep up to date on this campaign, you can visit http://www.condoms4life.org or http://www.latinainstitute.org.

In solidarity,

The staff of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Catholics for Choice

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On Sunday, June 7 the National Latina Institute tabled at an outdoor health fair organized by PS 333/335, a public elementary school in the South Bronx.  The health fair, which was attended by approximately 30 to 40 people, included live entertainment, free food and a free health raffle.  Local community organizations and health care providers were on site giving out information and answering questions.  Those who stopped by the NLIRH table found out about our organization’s work and walked away with important information and materials on cervical cancer prevention and the HPV vaccine.


The health fair was sponsored by the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families (CHCF), an organization that offers health and educational services and programs to the Latino community.  At PS 333/335, CHCF runs an after-school care program and a program on healthy living.


NLIRH will be tabling at other NYC fairs and festivals this summer.  Here’s more info:


3rd Annual NYC Gender Equality Festival (organized by Girls for Gender Equity!)

Saturday, July 19th

10am – 3pm


Von King Park Cultural Center


57th Annual Health and Cultural Festival

Wednesday, August 20th

10am – 8pm

Washington Heights

159th Street bet. Amsterdam Ave and Broadway


Don’t let the sun keep you indoors! Stop by and say hello!


Contributed by Raquel Namuche, Community Mobilization Intern

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