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Texas Abortion Ruling Is a 'Win for Latina Health,' Says the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Melissa Castellanos
Latin Post

Texas Abortion Ruling
The Texas abortion ruling sheds light on pro-choice movements around the globe. Thousands marched in Santiago, Chile on July, 25, 2013 demanding legalization of abortion, as outrage continues in Chile after the rape case of an 11-year-old, who legally must continue with her pregnancy. (Photo : Photo: The Santiago Times/Flickr)

On Monday, a federal judge made a powerful determination that affects all women, including a large Latina population, stating that Texas' abortion restrictions place an unconstitutional burden on women seeking to end a pregnancy -- a ruling that keeps open dozens of abortion clinics across the state while officials appeal.

The ruling by District Judge Lee Yeakel came one day before key parts of the law the Legislature approved in July were set to take effect. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers argued in their lawsuit that a provision requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital less than 30 miles away would have effectively shuttered about a third of the state's 38 clinics that perform abortions, The Associated Press reports. 

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, whose office argued the law protects women and the life of the fetus, immediately filed an appeal with the conservative 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. In the court papers filed, he is asking the judge to make a decision (of whether or not to grant an emergency appeal) by the end of the day Tuesday.

How does this affect the health of Latinas in Texas and overall in the U.S.?

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, released the following statement in response to Monday's ruling that blocked two key pieces of Texas' controversial abortion law:

"These laws were nothing more than medically unnecessary attempts to block women from accessing important health care. As is often the case, these misguided restrictions would have disproportionately hurt the health of Latinas and women of color, who already face far too many barriers to care. Overall, today's ruling is a win for Latina health.

"Even though the judge has said that the FDA protocol is 'clearly more burdensome for women,' Texas legislators are continuing to play doctor and ensure that many women will not be able to use a safer-evidence based protocol for medication abortion. The last thing Latinas need are more barriers to reproductive care."

The NLIRH is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 24 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.

Also a recipient of the award for best nonprofit in social media from Latinos in Tech Innovation & Social Media (LATISM, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to advancing the social, civic and economic status of the Latino community through digital media), NLIRH made a powerful statement on abortion earlier this year.

On the 40th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, NLIRH created an original, fully bilingual video for its "Yo Te Apoyo. I Support You." campaign to lift Latino voices of support for a woman's decision making about pregnancy and parenthood.

In addition to the "Yo Te Apoyo. I Support You." campaign, a survey conducted in 2011 by Lake Research Partners found that strong majorities of Latino registered voters supported access to legal abortion affirmed that they would offer support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion, and opposed politicians interfering in personal, private decisions about abortion.

What were the study's key findings?

Latinos support a woman's right to make decisions.

Seventy-four percent of Latino registered voters agree that a woman has a right to make her own personal, private decisions about abortion without politicians interfering.

Latinos don't think we should judge other women's decisions.

Seventy-three percent of Latino registered voters agree that we should not judge someone who feels they are not ready to be a parent. Fifty-seven percent strongly agrees with this statement.

Latinos are supportive of close friends and family members choosing abortion.

Sixty-seven percent of Latino voters say they would give support to a close friend or family member who had an abortion. Forty-three percent say they would provide a lot of support. Only twenty-three percent say they would not feel comfortable offering support.

Latinos don't think money should determine access to abortion.

Sixty-one percent agree that the amount of money a woman has or does not have should not determine whether she could have an abortion when she needs one.

Latinos are willing to disagree with church leaders.

Sixty-eight percent agree with the statement "even though church leaders take a position against abortion, when it comes to the law, I believe it should remain legal."