Latina Health Advocates Condemn Decision in Texas Abortion Restriction Case
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) condemns today’s order by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. This decision permits provisions of an extreme and dangerous Texas law restricting abortion to take effect immediately despite ongoing litigation, and will result in the closure of all but a handful of clinics in all of Texas. This ruling will force Latinas across the state to travel hundreds of miles for necessary reproductive healthcare, an impossibility for many.
During the case, NLIRH had the honor to include the perspective of Texas Latinas through the expert testimony of Lucy Felix, the Texas Latina Advocacy Network’s senior field coordinator for NLIRH, who testified during the proceedings. Felix highlighted the harmful impact of the bill on Latinas’ ability to access safe and affordable reproductive healthcare services, gained from her experience as a seasoned community health worker and organizer.
Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, has issued the following statement in response:
“We are devastated that the court’s decision will mean that the clinics Latinas rely on for necessary reproductive healthcare will once again be forced to close their doors. Make no mistake, the purpose of HB2 was never to protect women, but to make abortion — which is a safe and legal procedure — out of reach in the state of Texas. This law is an unconscionable violation of the human rights of Latinas across the state and a prime example of politicians meddling with the health and lives of our community.
“As the appeals process moves forward, we are heartbroken that Latinas will continue to be denied the care they need. Latinas in Texas 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 healthcare, including: poverty, lack of transportation, linguistic and cultural barriers, and restrictions on coverage for immigrant women. This means that Latinas are among the most likely to rely on the very clinics HB2 was designed to shut down, and will be most harmed by additional clinic closures.
“No matter what the court says, we are going to keep fighting for the nearly five million Latinas in Texas. Our activists and community leaders in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, El Paso, and across the state will not rest while this violation of their human rights is allowed to stand. We will continue to fight to ensure that every woman has access to abortion care when she needs it, regardless of her income, where she lives, or her immigration status.”
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.