What We Do

What We Do

Our Issues

The work of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) focuses on three main program areas:

  • Abortion Access and Affordability
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity
  • Immigrant Women’s Health and Rights

Abortion Access and Affordability

Access to safe and affordable abortion services remains a challenge for Latinas. Compared to white women, Latinas are twice as likely to experience unintended pregnancy; however, Latinas are also less likely to be able to afford abortion services. Current restrictions on insurance coverage for abortion, such as the Hyde Amendment, leave few options for Latinas struggling to make ends meet, particularly those who qualify for Medicaid or other public insurance, as well as those serving in the military, Peace Corps, and women held in immigration detention centers. Additionally, anti-choice lawmakers, particularly in state legislatures, have passed an unprecedented number of restrictions on abortion and contraception in recent years. Federal legislators have attempted to ban so-called “race and selective abortions,” a blatant attack on the reproductive freedoms of women of color and immigrant women. Federal legislators also attempted to ban abortions after 20-weeks in the District of Columbia, limit access to abortion care for minors, and codify the Hyde Amendment. In states across the country, lawmakers have placed severe restrictions on abortion access, even forcing many clinics to shut down. This places harsh burdens on a woman seeking abortion, who may be forced to travel a hundred miles or more to find a clinic.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Equity

Historically, Latinas have lacked access to quality reproductive health and preventive services, resulting in major health inequities and poorer Latina health outcomes. For example, Latinas suffer from extraordinarily high incidence rates of cervical cancer. Although the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has led to remarkable gains for the Latino community, the situation is still dire for much of the Latino population. Overall, Latinos still have the highest rates of uninsurance when compared to other demographic groups in the U.S. Additionally, many Latinos continue to be denied insurance coverage due to their employment or immigration status. Furthermore, states can prohibit abortion coverage in health insurance plans offered in the ACA insurance exchanges, which threatens the health and wellbeing all women, including Latinas.

Immigrant Women’s Health and Rights

Immigrant Latinas continue to be targeted by discriminatory and inhumane policies that undermine their rights, tear apart their families, and leave all immigrant women at the margins of society. There has been an increase in draconian, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant practices on the state and federal level. In addition to failing to introduce humane and inclusive immigration reform legislation, the Obama Administration’s troubling enforcement policies have resulted in the deportation of approximately 400,000 individuals every year. In the coming years, Latinas will be watching closely to see not only that inclusive, humane, immigration reform legislation is passed, but that it includes certain provisions that Latinas hold dear, including: an end to enforcement policies that tear families apart; a fair, equitable, and affordable path to citizenship for all; and access to healthcare and family economic supports for all immigrant women and families, regardless of status. The breadth of issues that fall under these program areas include:

  • Abortion Access and Affordability
  • LGBTQ Liberation
  • Health Equity
  • Contraceptive Equity
  • Cervical Cancer Prevention
  • Immigrant Women’s Health and Rights
  • Dignity for Pregnant and Parenting Youth