New Report Calls on Texas Lawmakers to Restore Critical Reproductive Health Care Services for Latinas

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New Report Calls on Texas Lawmakers to Restore Critical Reproductive Health Care Services for Latinas

New resource developed to address growing health care crisis facing millions of Texas Latinas after devastating cuts to family planning, abortion restrictions in the state

WASHINGTON - The Center for Reproductive Rights and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health released a new resource today outlining proactive policies that Texas politicians should enact to end the current health care crisis in Texas and restore access to critical reproductive health care services for millions of Latinas.

The resource—a policy agenda titled Nuestro Texas: A Reproductive Justice Agenda for Latinas—has been sent to every member of the Texas legislature as they begin the state’s 84th legislative session.  The blueprint outlines concrete action steps the Legislature can take to restore full access to reproductive health services in rural and underserved areas, ensure access to safe, legal, and affordable abortion for all Texas women, expand health care coverage to improve the health and well-being of all Texans, and protect non-citizens’ basic human rights, including the right to health.

The agenda—which contains staggering statistics on Texas Latinas’ high incidence of poverty and low insurance rates—also includes solutions for addressing the state’s significant structural barriers to health care, such as expanding coverage for the uninsured, eliminating transportation barriers, strengthening public health infrastructure, and making reproductive health services available to all regardless of immigration status.  

“Latinas in Texas have been particularly hard-hit by the women’s health care crisis that has rocked the state in the wake of politicians’ sweeping attacks on access to essential reproductive care,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.  “Texas lawmakers have a responsibility to advance policies that expand access to the critical services Latina women and families need, and this report provides a robust and detailed blueprint for doing so.

“Across Texas, Latinas face greater barriers than ever before in getting the healthcare they need. It’s time to end the politically-motivated attacks that have decimated the reproductive health safety net and left many women with nowhere to go for cancer screenings, contraception, abortion care, and other necessary services,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. “Our plan is clear, comprehensive, and proactive, and we look forward to working with Texas lawmakers to advance a reproductive justice agenda in the state.”

In the face of Texas’ growing health care crisis, the Center and NLIRH will be hosting Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: A Women’s Human Rights Hearing on Monday, March 9, 2015 in the Rio Grande Valley. Human rights experts from around the world will join Texas Latinas as they publicly share their stories about violations of their human rights. The hearing will be preceded by a march commemorating International Women’s Day and a human rights training for community members. All events are free and open to the public. More information about these events is available here

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The Reproductive Justice Agenda was developed in response to the devastating cuts to family planning services in the state, as well as ever-shrinking abortion access as a result of years of coordinated attacks on basic reproductive health care services.  Starting in 2011, the 82nd legislature dismantled the reproductive health care safety net by slashing funds for reproductive health care, denying millions of low-income women access to affordable contraception and other preventive health services.  The impact of these cuts have been particularly devastating for Latinas living in the Rio Grande Valley, as documented in the groundbreaking 2013 report Nuestra Voz, Nuestra Salud, Nuestro Texas: The Fight for Women’s Reproductive Health in the Rio Grande Valley.

Latinas have also been hit particularly hard by Texas’ omnibus bill HB2, legislation that has already shuttered over half of the reproductive health care clinics offering abortion services, including many providers in rural and underserved sections of the state.  The Center for Reproductive Rights is currently challenging two components of HB2 and awaiting a ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit which will determine the fate of the remaining clinics, including the last abortion provider in the Rio Grande Valley.

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The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the law to advance reproductive freedom as a fundamental human right that all governments are legally obligated to protect, respect, and fulfill.

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