National Latina Institute Rallies for Real Health Care Reform on Capitol Hill

Washington, DC— The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), Latina activists and reproductive health and rights groups rallied on Capitol Hill to demand Congress and the President eliminate the double standard in health care reform for women and immigrants. NLIRH and Latina activists traveled from New York City to Capitol Hill to protect the health and rights of Latinas and their families.

As part of the Coalition to Pass Health Care Reform and Stop Stupak campaign, Silvia Henriquez, executive director of NLIRH, spoke at the press conference, along with Senator Boxer and Representative DeLauro, among others.
Below is Ms. Henriquez’s statement:
“Latinas have been increasingly vocal in this health care reform debate because we care deeply about the well-being of our families… and in the past few weeks we are outraged to learn that many of our own family members will face a double barrier to healthcare: immigration status and stigma will be used to cut off health services like prenatal care, and abortion insurance restrictions will make pregnancy termination impossible for the many Latinas living in poverty.Millions of Latinas are invisible in this healthcare proposal because we are either denied the opportunity to purchase health insurance or denied financial access to abortion services.
“Women of color and immigrants are more likely to be living in poverty, and they are less likely to be able to pay for abortion care out-of-pocket, which puts them at risk of seeking alternative methods that may be less safe. On behalf of our families and communities we ask congress and the President that if a woman gets pregnant, she has the ability to make the best decision for herself and her family, and that health care reform eliminate the double standard that treats a woman differently than a man when it comes to insurance coverage.
“Members of Congress, we ask that all immigrants be allowed to pay into the health insurance exchange. Policies that do not allow undocumented persons to use their own money to buy insurance are discriminatory, short-sighted, and damaging to everyone. Any restrictions to access health care programs and services will not only negatively affect the health of a single individual, but also the health of their children, their families and their community.Real health reform … does not leave out Latinas and their families. Thousands of Latinas are raising their voices today in support of healthcare access for all, and we hope that the Congress passes healthcare reform that leaves stigma behind and instead is guided by a commitment to health, dignity, and justice.”
For more information on the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, please visit

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