Press Releases

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Despite Opposition from Reproductive Health and Immigrants’ Rights Advocates, House Committee Passes Restrictions on Women's Health in Homeland Security Bill

Press Release
Washington

Aderholt Amendment Creates Dangerous and Unnecessary Restrictions on Access to Abortion Care

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) joins 65 national, state, and local organizations in condemning the inclusion of a provision (the Aderholt Amendment) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act, which passed today by a vote of 29-18 in the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, and targets reproductive healthcare for women in detention. The coalition opposing this provision collectively represent, advocate for, or support health, rights, and justice for immigrant women, migrant women, refugee women, and their families.

The provision targets immigrant women's reproductive healthcare with unnecessary and mean-spirited restrictions on access to abortion by prohibiting federal funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide abortion care for women in ICE detention centers.

"Once again, immigrant women are being targeted with cruel attacks and bad policy," said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH. "Between the House’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform and the Obama Administration’s decision to delay review of deportation policies, there are a record number of immigrant women being detained. Today’s decision denies these women access to critical reproductive healthcare services, which will have a profound impact on many Latinas and their families.” 

Women in immigration detention, like other women who receive their healthcare through federally-funded providers and insurance plans, are already denied access to coverage for abortion care under the restrictive and harmful terms of the Hyde Amendment and other bans on abortion coverage. Furthermore, DHS already has comprehensive, stakeholder-reviewed standards for access to healthcare in detention (the Performance-Based National Detention Standards, released in February 2012).

González-Rojas added, "This provision strikes at a population of women who already face substandard conditions, are shackled during childbirth, and endure an epidemic of sexual assault in federal custody. Women in detention are already vulnerable, and this provision would add another layer of injustice to an already tragic situation. This is yet another example of political interference with healthcare and personal decisions, one that targets women who are already facing incredibly difficult circumstances. 

"Despite the vote's outcome, we are very grateful to Representatives Nita Lowey (NY-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), David Price (NC-04), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) who stood up for immigrant women and access to healthcare by speaking out against the measure."

To view the letter from 66 national, state, and local organizations, please visit our website.

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The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national reproductive justice organization dedicated to building Latina power to advance health, dignity, and justice for 26 million Latinas, their families, and communities in the United States through leadership development, community mobilization, policy advocacy, and strategic communications.