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NLIRH highlights reproductive health needs on HHS call for Hispanic Heritage Month

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Earlier this week, Policy Analyst Rebecca Pleitez represented NLIRH on a call hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services, highlighting the reproductive health needs of Latinas. An excerpt of her comments:

Latino families are the fastest growing segment of the population, yet they suffer disproportionately from economic distress and limited access to health care and education.

To put this in context:

The incidence of cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is almost twice as high as non-Latina white women. Latinas have the 2nd highest mortality rate from cervical cancer, after black women.  For example, approximately 4,000 women die of cervical cancer annually with Latina death representing a proportion nearly 40% higher than that of non-Latino women. Yet cervical cancer is very preventable. 85% of women who die from cervical cancer never had a pap smear. 

50% of women age 18-34, including Latinas, say there has been a time when cost of prescription birth control interfered with their ability to use it consistently.

It's a remarkably different set of priorities to make being healthy the goal of healthcare, rather than simply treating illness, but that’s just what HHS has done this year. These expanded benefits are welcome news for millions of Latinas and their families as they seek to plan and space their pregnancies, keep their pregnancies healthy, keep their infants healthy, or prevent deadly cancers and illness.