Press Releases

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Latino/a Health and Civil Rights Advocates File Amicus Brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole

Press Release
Kimberly Inez McGuire, ConwayStrategic Phone: 413.222.0271 Email:

Brief relies on personal narrative and international human rights laws to demonstrate that restrictive abortion laws have an unfair and disproportionate impact on poor and rural women, like the Latinas living in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) joined leading Latino/a health and civil rights groups in filing an amicus brief in support of the petitioners in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, a case the Supreme Court will hear on March 2 of this year, reviewing two pieces of Texas’ omnibus anti-abortion law, H.B. 2. The law has already resulted in the closure of most of the abortion clinics in the state. The brief was co-authored by Cynthia Soohoo, the CUNY School of Law International Women’s Human Rights Clinic and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer US LLP.

The following organizations joined NLIRH in the brief, which outlines the devastating impact of H.B. 2 on the 2.5 million Latinas of reproductive age in Texas: Alianza Americas, California Latinas for Reproductive Justice, Casa de Esperanza, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), Hispanic Federation, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (MALDEF).

As described in the expert opinion of Lucy Felix, the Texas Latina Advocacy Network senior field coordinator for NLIRH, who testified during the earlier court proceedings, the challenged provisions of H.B. 2 have already had a devastating impact on Latinas’ ability to access safe and affordable reproductive healthcare in the Rio Grande Valley.  For immigrants, mothers, low-wage workers, and Latinas who are all three, securing an abortion means navigating a state-created obstacle course. If the challenged provisions are not struck down, more clinics will close, women will have to wait even longer, and many will face higher costs to access the abortions they need. Those unable to overcome these obstacles will be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term or take matters into their own hands.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH, issued the following statement:

“We are hopeful that when the Supreme Court reviews these disingenuous and devastating provisions, which fall hardest on Latinas and immigrant women, they will see what we already know. These laws have nothing to do with protecting women, and everything to do with creating coercive and nearly impossible-to-navigate hurdles for those who seek abortion. We are proud to stand with Latino leaders in affirming the right to legal abortion and demonstrating the harms of H.B. 2’s challenged provisions and similar laws.”

José Calderón, President of Hispanic Federation, issued the following statement:

“It is troublesome that with every stride we take towards healthcare equity and improved access to care, we find ourselves fighting actions that aim to turn back the clock on care for women and their families. It is our hope that the Fifth Circuit ruling, which will jeopardize the livelihoods of Latinas and other women in Texas, will be overturned so we can focus our efforts on addressing existing healthcare disparities.” 


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.