Press Releases

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Latina health advocates condemn 5th Circuit decision on Texas abortion law

Press Release
Washington
Loretta Kane (917.410.7242, lk@caminopr.org)

Decision allows HB 2 to go into effect, threaten Latina health

(WASHINGTON, DC) The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) condemns the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today vacating the lower court decision enjoining House Bill 2 (HB 2).

The decision leaves standing some of the most harmful provisions of HB 2 — a package of extreme abortion restrictions that threatens to close all but seven of the state's 40 previously-operating abortion clinics and further threatens access to safe and legal abortion within the state.

While most clinics shuttered by the law would stay closed, the decision would allow the Whole Women’s Health clinic in McAllen, Tx. to continue providing abortion services for the time being, offering a limited consolation to women struggling to access care.

In the decision, the judge cited the expert testimony of Lucy Felix, Texas Latina Advocacy Network’s senior field coordinator for the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), who testified during the proceedings. Felix highlighted the devastating impact of the bill on Latinas’ ability to access safe and affordable reproductive health care services in the Rio Grande Valley, a fact which the circuit relied on to justify the continued need for the McAllen clinic.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, has issued the statement below about today’s decision:

“We are outraged with the court’s decision to allow some of the most harmful provisions of  HB 2 to go into effect. While we are proud of the role our testimony played in keeping the McAllen clinic open for now, the overall impact of HB 2 will be devastating for Texas Latinas. Let’s be clear: the purpose of HB 2 was never to protect women, but to make abortion — which is a safe and legal procedure — out of reach in the state of Texas.

“While this decision is a loss for all Texas women, it’s particularly threatening for Latinas, who have been among the hardest hit by recent clinic closures throughout the state. Nearly 40 percent of Texas women are Latina, and Latinas are twice as likely to experience unintended pregnancies as non-Latina white women and more likely to be of reproductive age. Latinas already face formidable barriers to health care, including: poverty, lack of transportation, linguistic and cultural barriers, and restrictions on healthcare for immigrant women. This means that Latinas are among the most likely to rely on the very clinics HB 2 was designed to shut down. Today’s ruling is a step backwards for human rights in Texas.

“But we are not finished with this fight. Latinas will be watching as we help take this case all the way to the Supreme Court. Because we will not stop until every woman has access to abortion care when she needs it, regardless of her income, where she lives, or her immigration status.”

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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.