Latinas to governors: Expand Medicaid and protect contraception without co-pays

Today the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) launches its third annual Latina Week of Action for Reproductive Justice. With the partnership of California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) and the Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR), NLIRH will use its ongoing ¡Soy Poderosa! (I Am Powerful!) campaign to encourage Latinas across the country to demand that policymakers protect the Affordable Care Act and access to birth control, expand Medicaid and demand that all Latinas have access to quality, affordable health care.

“¡Soy Poderosa! is a rallying cry that puts the valuable work of Latinas at the forefront and shows policymakers that we will hold them accountable,” said Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of NLIRH. “Week of Action and ¡Soy Poderosa! remind legislators that Latinas are a powerful constituency that will not be silenced.”

The Week of Action campaign will include contributions to ¡Soy Poderosa! and letter-writing campaigns to governors across the country, calling for them to fully implement the Medicaid expansion. Activists will also collect stories from Latinas across the country to demonstrate the collective reach of Latinas when they stand together for health and reproductive justice.

This is a critical moment for Latina health. The Affordable Care Act has already:

Provided contraception coverage without expensive co-pays so that Latinas can plan the timing and spacing of their families.

Expanded access to life-saving preventive care, like HIV and HPV screenings and domestic violence counseling and screening.
Supported Latina mothers with breastfeeding supplies and comprehensive support and counseling by trained providers.
Helped 736,000 young Latino/as retain coverage.
Eliminated discrimination by health insurers against children with pre-existing conditions. 
Provided for cervical cancer screenings for sexually active women and STI screenings.

Still, opponents vow they’ll repeal these landmark gains for Latina health, and governors of states with millions of Latinas, including Texas and Florida, flatly refuse to expand Medicaid. And a recent New York Times article noted that this leaves 11 million immigrants without care, many of them Latinas, and places an incredible burden on our nation’s hospitals.

“Access to quality, affordable health care is a basic human right,” said González-Rojas. “The Affordable Care Act provides incredible gains for many Latinas, but our fight will continue until all Latinas can access quality care, including contraception and the ability to plan the timing and spacing of their families without expensive co-pays.”

As part of the Week of Action, advocates will also participate in a Blog Carnival, contributing pieces to their blogs and Tumblrs about how they use their voices, take action in their communities and feel poderosa.

“Latinas are showing our power today in the fight for health care access,” González-Rojas said. “It’s time for all Latinas to stand together and say, ‘My voice matters, and I deserve to be heard. Expand Medicaid and protect birth control!’ ”

To become a partner in this nationwide week of action and learn more about the letter-writing campaign and other activities taking place around the country, please visit the Week of Action page on NLIRH’s website.



The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health is the only national organization working on behalf of the reproductive health and justice of the 20 million Latinas, their families and communities in the United States through public education, community mobilization and policy advocacy.

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